UPU Supports Universal Service for the Posts

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The quality of mail services may see an increase after the Universal Postal Union adopted a resolution last week that puts some demands on its 189 member countries. Postal administrators must ensure that customers receive quality universal postal service at affordable prices, according to the resolution's debut at the 22nd Congress of the Universal Postal Union in Beijing, China.

The resolution calls on government bodies responsible for postal services to make sure that standards are set for the quality of all services offered under the universal service obligation and asks that these standards are met in terms of accessibility, customer satisfaction, speed and reliability, security and liability, and the treatment of inquiries. Postal service providers are also being asked to ensure that performance standards are continuously monitored, evaluated, published and reviewed, and meet targeted performance levels.

The resolution is the result of a proposal by the UPU's Council of Administration based on a study on the UPU's mission. It follows concerns expressed that recent developments in the postal business environment -- such as increased competition, and the move toward liberalization and globalization of services -- could reduce this right unless there is an appropriate reaction from UPU member countries.

To remain competitive, the group found, a growing number of postal administrations are being converted into commercial companies subject to demands of the marketplace. However, in most countries they still play a social and cultural role, and it is often the only access to communication in isolated areas abandoned by other commercial activities or not yet reached by 21st century communication technologies, particularly because of the costs involved.

Jerry Cerasale, senior vice president of government affairs at the Direct Marketing Association, Washington, DC, agrees with the UPU's resolution. "The DMA supports the UPU's drive to have universal delivery to all addresses throughout the world," he said. "We think that is the key for global commerce in the 21st century."

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