UPU Regional Strategy Forum for Asia-Pacific

Speech of the Director General during the opening of the UPU Regional Strategy Forum for Asia-Pacific, 25 April 2019, Bangkok

Mr Pansak Siriruchtapong, Vice Minister for the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society of Thailand,

Mr Hongliang Lin, Secretary General of Asian-Pacific Postal Union

Deputy Director General of the UPU, Mr Pascal Clivaz

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning and welcome to the UPU Regional Strategy Forum for Asia-Pacific.  

This event is the first of a series of six regional forums organized in 2019 as part of the development of the UPU’s strategy for the next 4-year cycle (2021-2024).

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society of Thailand as well as to Thailand Post for their generous hospitality and hosting of the Asia-Pacific edition here in Bangkok. I wish to also thank my good friend Mr. Lin for the partnership between APPU and UPU in realizing this event.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The postal sector is facing unprecedented change in an era of pervasive digitalization. Intergovernmental organizations are also confronted with significant challenges as geopolitical and economic paradigms shift. In this context, the UPU is presented with both new risks and opportunities, hence the importance of a robust vision and strategy for the organization.

The UPU’s strategy for the 2021-2024 cycle, the Abidjan Postal Strategy, will be approved by the Abidjan Congress next year. In order to develop this roadmap, considerable effort is being made by member countries with the support of the IB to align the strategy with the contemporary trends in the postal sector.

I would like to specially thank Australia and South Africa, the co-chairs of Committee 3 of the UPU Council of Administration, which deals with strategy and postal economics, for leading discussions into the Union’s future strategy. I would also like to thank members of the Task Force that has been developing an initial draft of the strategy for your consideration in this forum. Lastly, please allow me to thank each one of the 170 respondents from 128 member countries who participated in the consultation on future strategy conducted a few months ago. Their invaluable input will help us develop a robust and inclusive strategy for the next cycle.

I am happy to report that the initial draft of this strategy has been approved by the UPU Council of Administration earlier this month. We are now bringing it to you and to every region of the world for further inputs. After that, we will bring it back to the CA in October of this year for approval and finalization.

Ladies and gentlemen,

For this new strategy to fulfil its promise, it needs to be inspired by a long-term vision for the sector as a whole. In this regard, the inputs from the highest levels of governments through the Ministerial Strategy Conference in 2018 have enabled us to foresee four key areas of action for the postal sector in the coming years.

Firstly, governments should decrease gaps in postal development through increased investments and focused policies, and promote various ways through which to utilize the postal network for socio-economic development.

Secondly, regulators should harmonize and enhance the sector’s regulatory framework. With increased innovation, diversification and investment in postal field, it is high time the regulators came in strongly and manage the completion that is shaping up.

Thirdly, operators should seek to enhance their performance by implementing diversified strategies and operational improvements. We now have many players doing what was in the past considered as exclusive postal business. We need to be more innovative to compete in this field.

And, fourthly, other stakeholders from the private sector and public institutions should pursue integration into the sector by engaging with traditional stakeholders, and vice-versa. This means opening up the market, fostering partnerships and enhancing the role of the UPU.

As for the UPU, it should align its activities in order to enable all the sector’s stakeholders to achieve this transformation. This vision, which we are calling Postal Vision 2030, will thus form the long-term basis for the UPU’s strategy in the next cycle.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Please allow me to elaborate more what we see as the future of the UPU. First, we must agree that for our Union to continue being relevant we must continuously keep reforming it to be in tune with world business trends.

The ongoing debate on remuneration is a pointer on the need to take faster decisions on matters that affect the postal business. I have said, and I will repeat here, that the remuneration issue is only but a symptom of a major big concern that requires to be addressed by the Union.

As we discuss this issue, I wish to call upon governments to seriously take their role in addressing the multilateral aspects of the UPU and align them to modern business. This is important for sustaining the strong global postal network that has been maintained by the UPU for 145 years now.

The UPU is still very relevant to the postal sector, but we need to reform it further and make it more flexible to address other emerging business matters. Most important, we must ensure postal services continue to play key developmental roles in our respective countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Before I conclude my remarks, I wish to call upon all postal administrations to respond to our recent ballot on the next steps in the current remuneration debate. We have asked you to determine whether you wish this to be resolved through written submission or you favour an Extraordinary Congress to meet for a more detailed discussion and take decision.

Please respond to our ballot as soon as possible to enable us make this decision.

And with those remarks I wish to count on your active participation and support at this forum as we together chart the future of the UPU.

My team from the International Bureau stands ready to support you in your efforts.

I wish you fruitful deliberations.

Thank you.