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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

UPU members decide way forward for development

22.09.2016 - Plenipotentiaries adopted a new development cooperation policy for 2017 – 2020 during a committee meeting of the UPU’s 26th Universal Postal Congress.


Congress Committee 6, which examines development cooperation matters, holds its first meeting at the 26th Universal Postal Congress in Istanbul (Photo: Ugur Cobanoglu)

 The policy centres on integrating the UPU’s development priorities with those of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for the implementation of which the postal sector can play an important role in areas such as financial inclusion and trade facilitation.

“Development cooperation is at the heart of the UPU’s mandate and one of its raisons d’être,” remarked committee chair, Jean-Paul Forceville, who is also Director of Regulatory, Institutional and European Affairs with La Poste (France). 

“[Sustainable development] is one area that we will keep strengthening so as to enable the Posts in all parts of the world to enhance their capacities to offer quality services to citizens,” said UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein. 

A key focus of the plan is resource mobilization. 

Though the postal sector is making strides to meet modern demands by implementing new services, developing Posts are often left behind because they cannot access necessary funds or tools. 

The UPU director general remarked on the Africa as an example, noting that 25,000 of the region’s post offices lack even basic electricity. The plan would focus on developing large-scale projects to attract funding from major donors and international partners. 

These resources would also be channeled into capacity-building projects, such as training, in order to ensure developing Posts’ staff are equipped to transform with the rest of the global postal industry. 

The UPU has already seen success with the train-the-trainer approach, with more than 3000 postal staff participating in group training sessions during the Doha work cycle. 

“When you train 1000 people, they train 10,000 people. That has been a tremendous support [in driving development],” said Hussein.

Financial inclusion

The committee also paid particular attention to the role of posts in fostering financial inclusion, including the launch of the updated UPU Global Panorama on Postal Financial Inclusion

“Financial inclusion is also one of the key drivers for attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Post is a key delivering agent for this goal,” said Hussein. 

More than 1.5 billion people worldwide already access financial services through the Post’s expansive physical network and 91 per cent of the  postal operators of the UPU’s member countries already offer financial services. 

In order to meet clients’ changing needs, Posts must digitize their financial services, making them available on multiple delivery channels—such as mobile platforms, cards, Internet and ATMs—in addition to their physical post offices.


Delegates also spent part of the committee session reviewing the progress made under the Doha Postal Strategy, which governed the UPU’s work between 2013 – 2016. 

The UPU’s development cooperation worked with member countries throughout the period, executing a total of 86 projects, with more to come by the end of 2016. 

Other accomplishments noted during the meeting included the establishment of three new regional training centres, news partnerships formed with high-profile international organizations, and the development of a new coaching methodology for postal reform.

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