Bhutan at the Universal Postal Union Congress
Bhutan participated in the 26th Universal Postal Union (UPU) Congress, which was being held in Istanbul, Turkey from 20th September 2016 to 7th October 2016. The 26th UPU Congress kicked off on 20th September 2016 presided over by the Turkish Prime Minister, Binali Yildirim.
The Bhutanese delegation is being led by Lyonpo DN Dhungyel, Minister for Information and Communications and was accompanied by Dasho Karma W Penjor, the Chairman of Bhutan Post, Karma Wangdi, the CEO of the Bhutan Post and other officials from MoIC and Bhutan Post.
The minister and the chairman attended the ministerial conference on the 4th October 2016 and plenary sessions thereafter while the rest of the delegation have been attending meetings on Development Cooperation, General Policy, Finances and matters related to international postal services.
Representatives from the UPU’s 192 member states have gathered at the 26th UPU Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, to set the agenda for the 2017-2020 cycles. The Congress is the supreme decision-making authority of the Union and meets every four years to define and adopt the road map for UPU activities for each work cycle.
The UPU Congress has framed a strategy centered on three goals: improving the interoperability of the postal network, ensuring sustainable and modern postal products, and fostering effective market sector functioning. The Union made many achievements during the Doha cycle; however, the postal sector still faces a new frontier with the development of new technologies, increased demand for e-commerce and emergence of new competitors.
Besides discussing opportunities and challenges for the Postal sector, some of the highlights of the Congress are the proposal for UPU institutional reform, which is to merge the UPU’s Council of Administration (CA) and Postal Operations Council (POC) into one UPU Council and election of member countries as candidates for these UPU bodies. The member countries believe that this structural transformation will speed up the decision-making process and make UPU more efficient and effective.
As part of the proceedings, the UPU Director General and Deputy Director General will be elected. The Congress will end with its closing plenary on 7th October 2016. Bhutan became a member of the UPU in 1969, two years before becoming a member of the United Nations. Since then Bhutan has been an active member of the United Nations body. Besides being instrumental for advancing the postal sector, Bhutan’s membership of the UPU has provided her another multilateral platform for it to engage with the international community.
Bhutan’s membership of the UPU has helped it to develop and modernize the country’s postal services. The membership enhanced the country’s communication and engagement with the rest of the world, and also within the country.
With UPU support, Bhutan has been able to modernize and develop its postal sector in step with developments globally, and continues to do so. The support Bhutan has received in the form of technical assistance, capacity development, access to information technology systems, and project tied assistance have been instrumental in enabling Bhutan to meet its Universal Service Obligation in providing postal services to the most remote parts of the country, introduce new services as well as to continuously improve the quality of these services.