23rd UPU Congress Completes Work

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The 23rd Universal Postal Union Congress ended yesterday, highlighted by representation from a record 173 UPU member countries, plus six more by proxy. Nearly 2,000 delegates, observers and guests attended the event in Bucharest, Romania, which began Sept. 15.

About 500 proposals were examined. Notable decisions made during the Congress include:

· Adoption of the Bucharest World Postal Strategy, a four-year roadmap for governments, postal operators and UPU bodies. The strategy directs postal organizations regarding how to do business in the future, interact with other stakeholders, respond to demands of a new business environment and meet customer needs.

· Creation of a Consultative Committee, a new UPU body representing the interests of external stakeholders and private sector partners in the work of the UPU. Charles Prescott, vice president of international business development and government affairs at the Direct Marketing Association, was elected its chairman.

· Adoption of proposals aimed at making the system used to compensate postal administrations for processing and delivering letter mail coming from other countries more country-specific and reflective of costs.

· Approval of a new country classification system that is in line with that of the United Nations Development Programme.

· Introduction of an improved Quality of Service Fund to ensure that countries most in need receive additional funds for improving their postal infrastructure and quality of service.

· Adoption of a worldwide quality of service standard and targets for international mail services.

· Adoption of a series of resolutions highlighting the need to improve security as well as combat terrorism and money laundering through the use of the mail network.

· Decisions to modernize and expand postal financial services through the use of technology, such as electronic fund transfers and computerized accounting methods.

· Adoption of a proposal to amend the UPU Convention to legally define the Electronic Postmark (EPM), formally recognizing it as a new optional postal service. The EPM provides evidentiary proof of an electronic event, in a certain form, at a certain time, involving one or more parties.

· Adoption of a resolution that items sent through extraterritorial offices of exchange are to be considered commercial items not subject to the UPU Acts, and that any country or operator wishing to establish an ETOE on the territory of a UPU member country must obtain prior permission from the host country.

· Measures to make postal parcels more competitive and enhance awareness of environmental protection.

· Election of Edouard Dayan of France's La Poste as the new UPU director general and Huang Guozhong of the Chinese Post as deputy director general. Also, new members of the UPU Postal Operations Council were elected. James Wade of the United States was elected chairman.

Nairobi, Kenya, will host the next UPU Congress in 2008.

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