Speaking about governments, the Director General of the Universal Postal Union Bishar A. Hussein said, “Your voices are crucial within the UPU family as they reflect not simply the views of related ministries, but also the very views of governments as they look across the full spectrum of industries that, when combined, make up national industries and economies.”
Mr. Hussein invited government ministers and other senior decision makers to consider the best policies, investments, regulations and partnerships to enable the postal sector to unleash its full potential in terms of service delivery and profitability.
Held at the Sofitel Hotel, Abidjan, Côte d' Ivoire, the theme of the conference is “COVID-19 and the postal sector – what has and has not changed, and what needs to change.” The conference is an opportunity for the international postal sector to take stock of the transformations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, and to reflect on what is needed to bring about a sustainable postal future.
In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister of Côte d' Ivoire Patrick Achi spoke about living through the shock of the COVID-19 and the need to bridge the digital divide between north and south. Discussing the Abidjan Postal Strategy (2022-2025), which will be approved at the Universal Postal Congress, he said the right strategy was capable of moving the entire industry forward and it paid tribute to Africa’s own distinct qualities. He told the audience that, after the pandemic, “Nothing will be as it was before.” In the first panel, Junsheng MA, Director General of State Post Bureau, People’s Republic of China, said there was a need for the world to join hands to stabilize global supply chains.
The conference is split into four panels. In the first panel, panellists discuss the pandemic’s effect on respective countries and solutions to address the challenges. A second panel considers those factors that have remained more stable over the past two years, despite the pandemic. Following this panel, an intergovernmental section allows ministers to deliver statements. A third panel examines what needs to change, while a final panel looks at key takeaways for UN agencies and for the UPU.
The first-ever Ministerial Conference was held during the Doha Congress in 2012. It brought together ministers responsible for the postal sector, as well as other high-level speakers, including Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands in her role as the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, and the Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union.
In 2016, leaders attended the second Ministerial Conference, held in Istanbul, Turkey, focusing on how the postal sector could better serve nations and citizens, and promote economic growth and drive development. The UPU also held a special Ministerial Conference during the 2018 Extraordinary Congress in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.