UPU Gives Voice to Outside Stakeholders

The 23rd UPU Congress adopted a resolution yesterday that officially creates the Consultative Committee, a new Universal Postal Union body made up of external postal stakeholders.

For the first time in its 130-year history, the UPU is giving stakeholders other than public postal operators or regulators a voice in its deliberations and the postal world's direction.

The Consultative Committee will consist of nongovernmental organizations representing customers, delivery service providers, workers groups, suppliers of goods and services to the postal sector and others with an interest in international postal services. They include direct marketers, international mailers and printers.

“By participating in our debates, offering papers and opinions, Consultative Committee members will be full partners of the UPU,” Thomas Leavey, UPU director general, said at the Congress, being held in Bucharest, Romania.

The committee replaces the Advisory Group created in 2000. Nongovernmental members of the Advisory Group automatically join. They are allowed to participate as full observers in the UPU Congress.

These Advisory Group members include: Association for Postal Commerce; the Direct Marketing Association; Envelope Manufacturers Association; European Mail Order Traders Association; Federation of European Direct Marketing; International Chamber of Commerce; International Express Carriers Conference; International Mailers' Advisory Group; International Olympic Committee; International Air Cargo Association and Union Network International.

The UPU's Council of Administration and the Postal Operations Council, which consist of members representing public postal operators and regulators, also will select representatives to the committee. The committee will meet twice yearly at UPU headquarters in Bern, Switzerland.

The committee will be headed by a chairperson to be elected by its members during its first meeting set for Oct. 5.

At the opening meeting of the Congress on Sept. 15, Leavey said that “changes in markets, changes in technology and changes in regulations and stakeholder roles all have transformed the postal landscape while providing a constantly changing horizon of threats and opportunities.”

The UPU's 2-year-old Quality of Service Fund, from which developing countries can obtain financial assistance to improve the quality of universal postal service, is “the best chance we have for achieving a high level of service throughout our international network,” he said. “Its future viability is essential to the achievement of the Bucharest World Postal Strategy and to the concept of high-quality universal services offered throughout a single postal territory.”

Delegates are expected to adopt the five-point World Postal Strategy on Oct. 1. This four-year roadmap for the world's postal regulators and operators focuses on universal service, quality of service, market knowledge, postal reform and cooperation among industry stakeholders.

The Congress also is to decide on revising a system to compensate countries for the reciprocal exchange of international mail, legally defining the Electronic Postmark as a new optional postal service and adopting an international service quality standard and service measurement.

The Congress includes representatives of more than 160 UPU member countries, totaling nearly 2,000 delegates, observers and guests. It takes place through Oct. 5.

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