UPU Fund Boosts Global Postal Services

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Nearly 280 projects financed worldwide and a stable source of funding for less-advanced countries are the results of the first five years of the Universal Postal Union's Quality of Service Fund, UPU director general Edouard Dayan announced last month at a press conference in Geneva.

The fund, approved in 1999 at the UPU's 22nd Universal Postal Congress, lets developing countries obtain financial assistance to improve the quality of universal postal service. Funding is based on seven criteria:

· Access to services

· Speed and reliability

· Having a quality development plan

· Security

· Liability and treatment of inquiries

· Customer satisfaction

· Design and implementation of costing and pricing systems

The fund is financed from terminal dues paid to the UPU, mostly from industrialized countries. The terminal dues system is used to compensate UPU member countries for the delivery of incoming international mail.

From April 2001 to March 2006, 279 projects were funded to improve postal services in developing countries: 28 percent in Europe and North Asia; 21 percent in Africa; 17 percent in Latin America; 16 percent in Asia-Pacific; 9 percent in Arab countries and 8 percent in the Caribbean. Funding totaled $39.6 million, the UPU said, and $47 million is still available for new projects.

"While the United Nations are discussing best practices to finance development aid, the UPU Quality of Service Fund proves its worth today, as a stable, regular source of funding for our member countries," Dayan said in a statement.

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