Plenary of the Postal Operations Council

Statement by UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein, Berne, Switzerland, 15 February 2015

Welcome to the first plenary meeting of the POC in 2013-2016 UPU cycle.

I wish to express at the outset my thanks to the POC chairman, chairmen and members of the various committees, project groups and ad hoc groups that have advanced our work during this cycle.

We have done well, but by its nature, the work of the POC never really gets  completed. The reason I say this is that the environment in which we are operating is not static. The UPU and POC should continually adjust and adapt itself to the changing realities of the market at all times in order to positively respond to the prevailing situation.

As you will recall, this cycle was quite unique in the sense that we started on a very high pace with double sessions and held several important high-level forums that set the stage for a lot of hard work. I am glad to note that we had also some quite notable successes. I will single out ECOMPRO, PosTransfer and Post clearance as some of the key achievements of the cycle. We were also very successful in several other areas including the advancement of the work on quality of service, customs and security issues, advanced electronic exchange and customs declarations, work on IPP, and improvement of the postal supply chain.

I also wish to commend the work of the various cooperatives that have registered significant progress during the cycle.

As we wind up the cycle, we can look back with satisfaction at a very remarkable period that has contributed tangible progress for the postal sector as a whole.

Whereas we have every right to celebrate our achievements, we must also focus on the areas that still require our attention as we strive to position the UPU and Post to stay ahead of the pack in this competitive communication industry. We have a lot of work still to build consensus on the new terminal dues and remuneration system. We have not concluded the work on product identification and its attendant appropriate compensation system between sending and receiving postal organizations. There is certainly huge concern in this area which ought to be resolved before Congress.

I will look to you, Mr. Chairman, and the wise counsel of this body to help bridge the gap and work on arriving at reasonable consensus in these areas.

I wish to recognize the reforms that have been proposed in the area of development cooperation. The reforms are geared towards making our intervention in various areas of development more relevant to the aspirations of the beneficiaries. For example, in the Quality of Service Fund, there is a proposal to broaden the scope of fundable projects so as to include other areas of service delivery. The net effect of this will be to transform our Posts’ business to be more customer-focused. The QSF is also coming up with proposals to address the unused fund with a view to addressing the increasing demand from members.

The other area of reforms that we have addressed within development cooperation is to align our priorities to the national strategies and priorities of the various designated operators. The guiding principle is to align our activities to the proposed Istanbul World Postal Strategy by addressing financial inclusion and driving electronic commerce within the entire membership.

As you are aware, we have also made key proposals for reforms that will affect the workings of this Council and even the CA. Through the broad reform of the Union, we are proposing a results-oriented approach to our work, whereby most of the activities will be delivered through time-bound taskforces in place of the current layers of work delivery arrangement.

We aim to shorten the turnaround time for results so as to achieve more efficiency and save on costs currently incurred, particularly occasioned by the many meetings and production of huge volume of documents.

The reform of the Union, which will be discussed by the CA next week, is aimed at simplifying our working methods to become more effective and efficient.

One other important feature in the proposal is the introduction of a mid-term Congress that will address urgent decisions between Congresses. With the fast-paced business environment, some decisions can no longer wait for the four-year Congress cycle to be made. The midterm congress will also deal with UPU strategy issues.

The primary purpose for all these structural and operational reforms is to create value for money for members. Recent studies have shown that reforms are required for the Union to continue being relevant and meet expectations of members. 

I would urge you to support these reform proposals.

I thank you for your audience and wish you successful deliberations.