34th Session of the Arab Permanent Postal Committee (APPC)

Speech by UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein, Muscat, Oman, 28 March 2018

Your Excellency Ali bin Khalfan Al Jabri, the Undersecretary Minister for Communication and Information Technology of the Oman Sultanate,

Mr. Essam Mohamed El Saghir, the Chairman of Egypt Post, and President of this APPC session

Mr. Khaled Hazem Fouda, Director of Post and telecommunications of the Arab League,

Distinguished participants,

Dear colleagues,

Asalamu Aleikum,

My thanks and gratitude to the organizers of this conference, the Government of Oman Sultanate as well as the Arab Permanent Postal Committee leadership, for inviting me to this forum.

I am most grateful for the assistance and warm reception that our delegation has been accorded in Oman.

We are delighted to participate in this very important conference that will address the development of the Post in the region and more so the implementation of the Istanbul World Postal Strategy.  

From the outset, I wish to acknowledge the existing good partnership between the Universal Postal Union and the members from the Arab League region. We very much cherish this partnership that continues to facilitate good development of the post in this region

Most of all, I am happy to be among good friends.

Dear friends,

First allow me to recognize the significant development of postal services that have taken place in this region in recent times.

We have witnessed improved service delivery that has been made possible by the diversification of postal services and the introduction of new technologies.  

These new services include: addressing and home mail delivery; the introduction of the Global Monitoring System (GMS); the Customs Declaration System; and the development of e-commerce and postal financial services, among many others.

I also sincerely thank the APPC and Arab countries for your ongoing support for UPU’s efforts to enable the Palestine Post to conduct direct mail exchanges with the rest of the world, and to have an exchange office at its disposal. Our goal is to enable Palestine Post, like the rest of the world, to fully benefit from the global postal network.

My tributes also go to the United Arab Emirates and Djibouti postal administrations for their efforts to enable Somalia to resume postal exchanges with the rest of the world after more than 20 years of interruption, and to strengthen the human resource capacities of that country's Post.

Ladies and gentlemen, in this first year of implementation of the Regional Development Plan in the Arab region, the focus has been on launching the ORE project, which aims to improve the end-to-end performance and reliability of the services offered by operators and to prepare them to actively participate in the development of e-commerce in the region.

To achieve these objectives, I note with satisfaction that national project teams have been established, roadmaps and action plans have been drawn up for 18 countries in the region, two workshops have been organized, and four field assessment missions have been executed.    

On the other hand, and in order to support this structuring project, regional efforts have been made to strengthen the role of the posts in the areas of digitalization of financial services and financial inclusion, as well as in the development of electronic money transfers.

For this purpose, two further workshops were organized.

I pledge that UPU will continue to offer support and technical assistance to ensure the success of these important initiatives.

Dear colleagues,

My team, which is present today, will provide you with more detail on UPU activities in the Arab region during the Istanbul cycle.

For now, please allow me to appraise the preparations for the UPU Extraordinary Congress in Ethiopia in September. 

The preparatory work for the UPU Extraordinary Congress has been progressing well, and only this month I was in Addis Ababa to sign the host country agreement with the Ethiopian government. This has been done and the preparatory teams are in high gear to prepare for the first UPU Congress on the African continent.

As you are aware, the Congress will discuss various topics including the Reform of the Union, the proposed changes of contribution class for the Union, UPU’s Provident Scheme proposal, as well as the integrated product plan and its related remuneration structure.

I wish to thank you for the support you have given the Ad Hoc Group on UPU Reform, which has achieved consensus on most of the issues under consideration. I wish to urge you to continue this support for the remaining topics so that we can resolve the reform issue, which has eluded us for many years. The reform will transform the Union and give members equal opportunities to make decisions.

Regarding funding, UPU has been facing a very difficult financial situation for years.

Many of the problem are caused by the inherent weakness of the UPU's voluntary funding model. We also face a situation where the volume and content of the business plan has continued to expand and grow, while the funding level has remained tightly restricted by the zero nominal growth principle.

The impact of this approach has led to severe operational difficulties, and the freezing and abolishment of posts, which in turn has adversely affected the Union’s ability to meet expectations of member countries.

To comprehensively address this issue the Istanbul Congress created a task force, which had been actively working since May 2017 and will report at the Addis Ababa Congress in September on the matter. I urge you to support the work of this task force to enable it accomplish its task and strengthen the capacity of the Union to deliver to members.

Another topic we will discuss in Addis Ababa will be the UPU’s Provident Scheme, which has accumulated a funding deficit over the last several years. The Istanbul Congress decided to establish a task force to study this problem and to propose a solution for stability and long-term sustainability of the fund. I would, therefore, wish to request you to support the work of the task force in addressing the matter.

That Congress will be responsible for deciding on the Integrated Product Plan and Integrated Remuneration Plan, which together will foster the sustainability of the postal network and enable all Posts to take advantage of the e-commerce opportunity.

IPP will facilitate the development of the postal network amidst emerging supply chain requirements, especially regarding electronic advanced data.

This proposal to Congress will be finalized at the upcoming Postal Operations Council in April.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With those remarks, I wish to again thank you for this opportunity to address you and I look forward to continuing this dynamic and mutually beneficial partnership in the future.