Regional Strategy Conference for Africa

Opening speech by UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein, Khartoum, Sudan, 31 May - 1 June 2015

It gives me great pleasure to open this Regional Strategy Conference, inaugurating a series of conferences, which we are organizing this year in close cooperation with the restricted unions. 

Here, I would like to thank the Pan African Postal Union and its Secretary General for their excellent work in preparing this conference in Khartoum. This is a concrete example of the regional approach that we have adopted in implementing the UPU strategy.

Such a conference, as was shown during the last cycle, is an effective consultation tool. Your presence here today makes you part of a process that is aimed at gathering the views and suggestions of as many countries as possible, regardless of their level of development, size or location.

This conference is an essential part of the definition of the future UPU strategy process for 2017-2020, which will be discussed by Congress in Istanbul next year.

The Regional Strategy Conferences closely follow the UPU Strategy Conference held in Geneva and hosted by the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, in which many of you were able to participate.

That event allowed us to bring esteemed panelists, senior leaders of the postal and related sectors, ministers, regulators, operators and representatives from other United Nations bodies to a high-level discussion on the future of the postal sector.

Three main themes stood out from the World Strategy Conference: innovation, inclusion, integration. The message was loud and clear. We were told that:

  • The postal and UPU environment has changed and is still changing very fast;
  • The UPU and Posts must evolve and transform quickly if they are to remain relevant; and
  • The UPU and Posts can do this only through innovation, integration and inclusion.

After gaining a global perspective, we now come to the second, important phase: the regional level. Restricted unions and the regions they represent are, in fact, key players in the implementation of the Doha Postal Strategy (DPS) through regional development plans. Given the successes, this approach will also be used for the implementation of the future strategy of the Union.

This leads me to briefly describe the three main objectives of this Regional Strategy Conference. Over the past two years, the UPU’s International Bureau, in partnership with the various Union bodies, member countries and our valued partners and stakeholders, has made remarkable progress towards achieving the goals, programmes and objectives set by the 25th UPU Congress in Doha.

During the first part of our discussions, we will review the implementation of DPS both globally and regionally, and assess the lessons learned.

While the Doha cycle is not finished and a final assessment of our actions can be established at the end of 2016, some lessons can already be certainly selected for the definition of the future UPU strategy.

The second highlight will be to gather your views on the draft Istanbul Postal Strategy. This has already been discussed by the UPU bodies but it is still a sketch, which can be refined.

Without going into the details of the draft strategy, I simply remark that, by the subjects it addresses, it is in line with the debates we have witnessed so far in the context of this conference. It incorporates the key themes of innovation, inclusion, and integration, and showcases the UPU plan of action to respond to key trends in the postal sector.

A strategy may want to be as innovative and ambitious as possible but it will only produce results if adequate structures are in place. To bring change in the postal sector, there needs to be change within the UPU. Changes in the decision-making processes, changes to provide more flexible responses, changes in funding mechanisms. I welcome, in this regard, the conference section, which will examine the crucial need to accelerate this change process with your full support.

The third and final part will be devoted to the definition of regional priorities for the period of implementation of the Istanbul World Postal Strategy. Through the diverse panel discussions organized around the proposed three goals, we will identify the key areas that we need to focus on.

Again, the regions and the restricted unions are important to give substance to the activities defined in the strategy. They, therefore, play a leading part in the success or failure of the new strategy. The priorities used in the development of regional development plans that will be operational from the beginning of the Istanbul cycle in 2017.

The UPU needs to undergo a profound transformation by 2020. Later today, I will be addressing you again to talk about the Vision 2020 focusing on innovation, integration and inclusion.

To realize this vision, we need your support. Each one of you is the architect of the UPU and the postal sector’s future. While addressing the World Strategy Conference, the United Nations' Secretary General asked us to develop a strategy that will help deliver a better world for all.

Today, I ask you for your full support as we change together to meet the future. If not today, then when? If not us, then who?

As participants in the first Regional Strategy Conference this year, we have the opportunity to lay the foundations on which other Regional Strategy Conferences will be built.

At the end of the conference, we will join hands to sign a resolution. I am certain that we will make good use of this unique opportunity and I look forward to fruitful deliberations over the next two days.