Looking ahead: UPU’s 4th Extraordinary Congress

The UPU is preparing for its 4th Extraordinary Congress in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from 1 to 5 October, 2023. This significant event, hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is poised to address several pivotal topics that promise to shape the future of the global postal sector. These subjects include enhancing the UPU’s engagement with wider postal sector players, climate action within the postal sector, and the evolution of postal financial services. The Extraordinary Congress will also provide a forum for input towards the next World Postal Strategy for 2026-2029.

UPU engagement with the wider sector

Historically, UPU membership and participation have been limited to governments and their designated postal operators. However, the UPU is now considering proposals to promote greater engagement with a more diverse group of stakeholders known as "wider postal sector players" (WPSPs).

WPSPs encompass private companies and partner organizations such as e-retailers, courier companies, logistics service providers, financial service providers, airlines, railways, customs organizations, and more.

The proposals to be discussed at the Extraordinary Congress would see changes across three dimensions:
  1. Reforms to the UPU’s institutional frameworks, focused on changes to the UPU’s Consultative Committee – the primary forum where WPSPs can discuss the sector in the UPU context;
  2. The opening of sets of products and services to WPSPs to improve interoperability across the supply chain; and
  3. The development of a roadmap for continued evolution of the UPU.
The rationale behind this proposal is multifaceted. First, engaging WPSPs aligns with the UPU's mission to enhance universal postal services by involving all relevant players. Second, international cooperation between national postal operators and WPSPs can lead to mutual benefits, fostering sustainability and global reach. Thirdly, the proposal of deeper collaboration aims to establish harmonized standards and technical solutions while bridging a regulatory gap at the international level.
Learn more about proposals for opening the UPU here.

Climate Action in the Postal Sector

Climate change poses significant challenges to postal operations, ranging from worker safety to supply chain disruptions. However, the postal sector is also well positioned to support global climate action.
The UPU has actively pursued global emissions reduction targets across the postal sector, resulting in a comprehensive "Green Package" proposal to be presented and decided upon at the Extraordinary Congress.
The Green Package includes:
  1. Feasible voluntary greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.
  2. A framework for enabling climate action within the sector, focusing on mitigation, adaptation, and climate finance.
  3. Voluntary sectoral pledges towards climate action to improve transparency and credibility.
  4. Climate leadership opportunities for the wider postal sector.
Learn more about the Green Package here.

The Future of Postal Financial Services

The UPU's role in financial services within the postal network is evolving to meet changing market dynamics. Digitalization, disruptive technologies, shifting customer needs and regulatory and compliance constraints have prompted the UPU to re-evaluate its approach. An independent study was conducted to evaluate the current postal financial services offering, leading to recommendations aimed at enhancing the UPU's support for the development of postal financial services.
Proposals for the Fourth Extraordinary Congress include:

  1. Improving the UPU’s legal framework for postal payments through amendments to the Postal Payments Services Agreement (PPSA).
  2. Establishing conditions for interconnection with WPSPs for postal payments.
  3. Creating an advisory knowledge centre for postal payment and other financial services.

The Riyadh Congress is expected to be a pivotal moment for shaping the future of postal financial services, as it sets the stage for further discussions and developments leading up to the 28th Congress in 2025.
Learn more about proposals on the future of postal financial services here.

UPU Strategy Summit 2023

The 4th Extraordinary Congress also provides an opportunity to convene postal sector leaders – including ministers, heads of postal regulators and postal CEOs – to chart the course for the UPU’s future strategy during a UPU Strategy Summit being held on 4 and 5 October.

Guided by the theme “People, Purpose, Progress: A new chapter for the postal sector”, they will discuss posts’ role in economic and social growth; how they can co-create value for citizens, businesses and governments; and how posts can play a greater role in supporting the global sustainable development agenda.

At the end of the Summit, the UPU will also launch its State of the Postal Sector report, which features a yearly assessment of the world’s postal services and will provide participants with a view to where postal sector development stands and where it is heading.

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Source: UPU
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