Regional Strategy Conference for Latin America

Opening speech by UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 10 June 2015

It gives me great pleasure to participate in the opening session of this UPU Regional Strategy Conference in Santo Domingo.

I want to thank our host government, postal and regulatory authorities and the Postal Union of the Americas, Spain and Portugal (PUASP) secretariat for their warm reception and excellent organization of this conference.

The primary objectives of these conferences are to gather the views of the member countries. Your views, suggestions and priorities will form integral inputs into the future UPU strategy that would be adopted by the Congress in Istanbul next year.

The presentation, content and style of this Regional Strategy Conferences will closely mirror those of the recently concluded UPU World Strategy Conference held in Geneva in which many of you were able to participate.

The Geneva conference enabled us to discuss high-level topics that were pertinent to the changing trends in the global postal sector. Three main themes - innovation, inclusion, integration - stood out clearly as the drivers of the postal sector in the future. The message was loud and clear. We were told that:

  • The postal and UPU environment has changed and is still changing very fast;
  • The UPU and Posts must transform quickly if they are to remain relevant;
  • The UPU and Posts can do this only through innovation, integration, and inclusion.

Restricted unions and the regions they represent are key players in the implementation of the Doha Postal Strategy. Given the remarkable successes of the regional development plans we adopted during the current cycle, we will adopt the same approach during the next cycle.

This leads me to briefly describe the three main objectives of this Regional Strategy Conference.

First, over the past two years, the UPU’s International Bureau, in liaison with the various Union bodies, member countries and stakeholders, has made remarkable progress towards achieving all the goals, programs and objectives set by the 25th UPU Congress in Doha.

During the first part of our discussions, we will review the implementation of DPS both globally and regionally, and assess the lessons learned in order for us to define the future UPU strategy.

The second highlight of the Regional Strategy Conference is to gather your views on the draft Istanbul World Postal Strategy. It has already been discussed by the UPU bodies, but it is still a sketch which can be refined. I therefore invite you to participate in the discussions following the presentation of the first draft of the Istanbul World Postal Strategy that will be presented by Elena Fernandez from Correos Spain, representing the UPU's Council of Administration's Committee 3 on Strategy.

Without preempting Elena’s presentation, I simply remark that the issues she will discuss will echo the key themes of innovation, inclusion, and integration we have heard in the Geneva World Strategy Conference. She will also spell out UPU’s plan of action to respond to key trends in the postal sector.

We envisage a radical change for UPU and the postal sector at national, regional, and international level. Change in the decision-making processes, change to provide more flexible responses, change in funding mechanisms. I look forward to your input to the section which will examine the crucial need to accelerate these change processes with your full support.

The third and final part of this Regional Strategy Conference will be devoted to the identification of regional priorities for the Istanbul Congress cycle.

Here you will be required to identify three levels of priorities that will be used in the development of regional development plans that will be operational from the beginning of the Istanbul cycle in 2017.

E-commerce, financial services and postal sector development are the growth potential for the postal sector in the face of the declining letter mail business. These priorities should be give greater attention during this cycle. They are the ones picked by Africa.

Cross-border incursions by postal organizations on territories of others in the name of liberalization and competition has changed the postal landscape.

Unfortunately, most postal organizations in developing countries are not prepared for this and are losing out to more resourced and well-organized entities or their proxies. I think it is time that UPU member countries deal with these sensitive questions head on.

The UPU needs fundamental transformation if we want to remain relevant. There are concerns from member countries on the slow decision-making process of the union.

The rules and regulations of the union bodies set decades ago are holding us back. IB will submit proposals and suggestions for making faster decisions.

I want to urge member countries, particularly those from developing countries, to take note of these coming changes. You must take active part in the debates on these important issues.

I strongly feel that the future structures and governing rules and regulations of the union bodies should be reviewed to make the Union fit for purpose. The UPU International Bureau will come with proposals and we will request for your support.

I wish you a fruitful deliberation and look forward to the priority areas of your choice from the Latin American region.