February 19, 2009

Introduction


This report summarizes the work of the October-November 2008 sessions of the UPU Postal Operations Council (POC) and Council of Administration (CA), which were held in Bern, Switzerland. The decisions taken by these Councils of most importance to the United States included the following:

  • On the suggestion of the U.S. delegation, the CA decided to create two Groups under its Committee 3 on Finance and Administration. These will be a Human Resources Group and an Ad Hoc Group to study the creation of an audit committee that will advise the CA on oversight issues.
  • The CA approved the 2009-2010 UPU Programme and Budget which includes an overall 2.59% increase. This is the first increase in the UPU budget since 1996.
  • Most all of the technical proposals put forward by the U.S. delegation to amend Letter Post, Parcel Post and Postal Payment Services Regulations were either adopted by the POC or referred for further study.
  • The CA approved the timelines for a study on the practical and policy implications of ETOEs (extra-territorial offices of exchange) and IMPC (International Mail Processing Center) codes. The CA is expected to complete the study by its next session in the fall of 2009.
  • The CA and POC did not approve a proposal put forward by the UPU International Bureau to study harmonization of pay-for-performance arrangements for both mandatory and optional services, that is, letter post, parcel post, EMS and postal payment services.
  • The CA did not approve a proposal that might have led to an accreditation requirement for delegations attending UPU Council meetings. The newly-created CA Reform of the Union Group, chaired by Belgium, will further study this issue. The CA did, however, consider an accreditation process for members of the Consultative Committee and asked the International Bureau to further study how best to implement such a process.

The U.S. delegation was led by Gerald Anderson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs. Other members of the delegation included Dennis Delehanty, Kate Lawrence and Otto van Maerssen of the Department of State; Tom Day, Lea Emerson, Brian Hutchins, Flori McClung, Laree Martin and Oscar Villanueva of the U.S. Postal Service; Ann Fisher and Allison Levy of the Postal Regulatory Commission; Philip Warker of Customs and Border Protection and Israly Echegaray of the Commerce Department. A complete list of members of the U.S. delegation is in Annex 1.

PART I: Postal Operations Council

Plenary

The POC opened with customary reports by the POC Management Committee, the Postal Security Group, the QSF Board of Trustees, the Consultative Committee and the POC Committees on Letter Post, Parcels, Postal Financial Services, and Standards and Technology. The Plenary adopted the POC Rules of Procedure with minor revisions, and designated ten of its members to serve on the Reform of the Union Group which will report to CA Committee 1 on Governance Issues.

Members also heard suggestions on the procedures for accreditation of participants in meetings of the Consultative Committee as well as the specific dates for the CA and POC annual sessions for the next four years. The members heard a presentation on the Programme and Budget for 2009-2010 and considered UPU principles concerning pay for performance.


Letters

POC Committee 1 on Letter Post, co-chaired by Switzerland and Great Britain, reviewed 152 proposals to amend the UPU Letter Post Regulations, most of which had been submitted by individual member countries to the 2008 Geneva Congress. Of these proposals, 63 were passed, 12 were adopted with amendment, 51 were referred for further study (five to the Council of Administration), and 33 were rejected or withdrawn.

Notable decisions made by Committee 1 included the following:

  • A shortening of the timeframes within which countries must respond to CN 08 inquiries as well as follow-up CN 08 inquiries resulting from delivery disputes.
  • Provisions which will create more situations in which payment of indemnity or postage refunds will be due.
  • Referral for further study of several International Business Reply Service proposals to allow for heavier items (such as those containing merchandise) and provide for new terms of remuneration.
  • Referral for study of several proposals related to charges incurred in connection with the redirection or return of misrouted items. These proposals will be taken up in a larger study conducted jointly with POC Committee 2, which is responsible for parcels.
  • Passage (or referral for study by the Standards Board) of a number of proposals that will provide for the incorporation of electronic messages and data into operational processes that support the settlement of accounts for mail exchanges (for example, transit charges).

The Committee approved several U.S. proposals, including those concerning electronic acknowledgement of CN 31 Letter Bills, standardized barcodes and incorporation of dispatch identifiers into transit and transshipment documents. Among the U.S. proposals that failed to pass were those that would have required operators that generate high volumes of registered mail to form separate dispatches and those that would have allowed destination operators to refuse or not pay accounts for mail carried under IMPC codes that are not clearly identifiable.

The Committee rejected a proposal to amend the provisions for force majeure suggested by the User Group responsible for the Quality of Service Link to Terminal Dues, insisting that more detailed procedures be presented for consideration at a future POC session.

The Committee also approved its own organizational structure (including arrangements for co-chairing meetings) and in doing so renamed (or restored the designation of) the Remuneration Group as the Terminal Dues Group.


Parcels

Under New Zealand's chairmanship, POC Committee 2 on Parcels focused on setting forth its four-year strategy and work plan and taking decisions on more than 70 individual proposals to amend the Parcel Post Regulations that had been submitted to the Geneva Congress.

The central goal of the Committee’s four-year product development strategy for parcels will be to ensure an effective response to changing market requirements and customer needs. Tactics to implement this strategy will include developing solutions to help designated operators grow their parcels business; fostering a commercial approach that recognizes market competition and the global drive for efficiencies; and ensuring a high-quality worldwide network for parcels. In assigning work to its several groups, the Committee made the U.S. chair of the Quality Improvement Group, which is responsible for quality standards, performance targets and the production of quality of service measurement reports.

Most of the proposals concerning parcels put forward by the U.S. were adopted by the Committee or referred for further study. The U.S. did not succeed, however, in changing provisions in the Parcel Post Regulations which would allow operators to capture a scan as proof of delivery instead of requiring a signature at delivery. The vote on this issue (18 in favor, 14 against and 4 abstentions) missed passage by just three votes. The U.S. plans to redraft the proposal and submit it to the March 2009 POC for further consideration.

The Committee approved a proposal to reduce the deadline for responding to claims and inquiries from 60 to 30 days as well as changes in the system of inward land rates beginning in 2010 which had been endorsed by the POC Parcels Group at its January 2008 meeting, prior to the Geneva Congress. Under the revised system, a performance level of 90% of delivery scans in relation to arrival scans will be required as of 1 January 2010.

With the support of the U.S. delegation, the Committee approved further study of the procedures for returning parcels, a decision which caused a deferral of all proposals submitted to the POC concerning returns. The Committee recognized the urgent need to re-examine all operations to detect and promptly treat returns of international parcels.

Customs

Under its new Chair, Germany, the Customs Group nominated six of its members for the postal side of the World Customs Organization-UPU Contact Committee; they are Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Singapore and the United States. In the new POC organizational chart, the Customs Group reports to Committee 2.

The Group reviewed the status of its ongoing work, and work conferred to the Group by the Geneva Congress, on the quality of information on customs declarations, transmission of EDI data for customs purposes, counterfeit and pirated items, the electronic Postal Export Guide, updates to the pages regarding customs issues on the UPU website and joint WCO-UPU training efforts.

The Chair proposed creating two informal work teams to assist the Group with certain tasks and projects. Due to budget constraints, the teams will not however receive secretarial support from the IB. The first team, to be chaired by Canada, with the U.S. as Vice Chair, will deal with operations and mail processing issues; the second team, chaired by the Netherlands, will consider legal matters related to customs, such as intellectual property rights and privacy issues.


Postal Financial Services

POC Committee 3, chaired by India, approved a completely new version of the Postal Payment Services Regulations.

In this process, the Committee had first to clear a procedural hurdle, which was to determine which UPU member countries present were to be considered legally authorized to vote on the proposals to amend the Regulations. Ordinarily, proposals to amend the Regulations seek changes related to an existing Postal Payment Services Agreement, and the parties to the current Agreement indicate through their signatures their intention to continue as parties to the amended Agreement and hence, to apply the provisions of the Regulations. However, this was not the case for the Postal Payment Services Agreement adopted by the Geneva Congress, since the Agreement adopted at Geneva is an entirely new document that describes voluntary postal financial services and whose effective date is 1 January 2010.

The UPU Acts currently provide that only those POC members that are parties to the voluntary agreements may vote on the regulations concerning those agreements. Therefore, discussion in the Committee centered on whether the signatories to the new Postal Payment Services Agreement – or rather the parties to the current Agreement – should vote on the new Regulations. If the decision were to allow only signatories to the new Agreement to vote, Uruguay and the U.S. would have been excluded from voting. After much heated debate, the Chair decided that only the signatories to the new agreement would vote. The U.S. challenged this decision and called for a vote of Committee members. The members voted by a two-vote margin to allow both signatories to the new Agreement and parties to the current Agreement to vote on the proposals to amend these Regulations.

Subsequently, the Committee considered each article of the new Regulations and the many proposals to amend the draft version. Important aspects of the provisions for combating money laundering, such as the requirements for proper customer identification, were maintained. Flexibility in the time that operators with remote offices not connected to an information technology network have to complete transactions was incorporated into the Regulations to enable a greater number of developing countries to participate. The new Regulations were put forward, as amended by the Committee, for approval by the Postal Operations Council, along with a proposed structure and work plan for Committee 3 groups.

Technology and Standards

POC Committee 4

Congress resolutions pertaining to future standardization activities, operations and accounting review, address quality, electronic postal services, and resolution of debts on postal accounts between designated operators had been allocated, through decisions of the Geneva Congress, to POC Committee 4, which is responsible for Technology and Standards. The U.S., as both Chair of the Standards Board and Chair of the Operations and Accounting Review Work Group, introduced the work plans for both groups.

Israel presented a memorandum on behalf of Australia regarding hybrid mail interoperability development under the auspices of the Global Hybrid Mail Work Group. The Group had concluded that sufficient regulations exist in the Convention and Letter Post Regulations to provide a generic framework for the development of hybrid mail services. The IB Legal Advisor intervened, arguing that this conclusion was outside the scope of the approved Telematics Cooperative Strategy for 2009-2012, but declined further comment.

Poland presented a report of the work of the interim .post project work group, requesting and receiving Committee approval for the creation of a .post Group within the organizational structure of Committee 4.

China introduced a memorandum recommending formal contacts be established between the UPU and the European Telecommunication Standards Institute to jointly develop standards of common interest. The recommendation was approved for consideration by the CA. The session concluded with an IB presentation on “The Internet of Things”, which described how recent developments such as miniaturization and RFID in conjunction with the Internet are starting to have an effect on the postal sector. The IB stressed the need for the UPU and postal operators to keep abreast of these developments.

Standards

The Standards Board, which reports to POC Committee 4, approved work items to study the use of geocodes and Geographic Information Systems in postal applications, and to develop an electronic “invoice and claims” EDI message for airlines similar to what the USPS has used for many years.

The Board also established a new standard for electronic registered email (standard S52) as well as a new electronic message through which postal operators will send customs data to their national customs authorities. This message, which uses XML, will help anchor a standard method of data exchange that should be useful among the more than 130 postal operators that use the UPU-developed IPS tracking system.

The Board also reviewed the outcomes of the Geneva UPU Congress, noting in particular the product-based organizational structure of the POC and the specific resolutions that will impact the work of the Board over the next four years, in particular Geneva Congress Resolution C 63 on ETOEs and IMPC codes. As part of this overall effort, the Board agreed to review its working methods and procedures with the goal of aligning the procedures, as far as possible and practicable, with those of other groups within the POC.


Quality of Service

Global Monitoring System

The Interim Working Group, chaired by Sweden, discussed several key decisions regarding the Global Monitoring System (GMS).

The IB presented estimated costs for participating, which came out to €1.60 per test item, a charge which will contribute to the IB’s GMS management and technical services expenses. The UPU Head of Quality of Service and the Director of the UPU Postal Technology Centre discussed the pluses and minuses of in-sourcing the development of GMS software versus taking advantage of various free offers made by several postal operators and IPC.

The Group also reviewed provisions of the draft tender agreement relating to the RFID infrastructure, panel management, test production and a central management information system. The U.S. successfully amended the tender document to ensure maximum openness. The call for tender was expected to be released in mid-November with a closing date for bids in early January 2009. Final vendor selection is expected by mid-March.

Following discussion of a draft bilateral agreement on data protection, the Group concluded that the draft required more work and requested Group members to send their comments to the IB by the end of November.

Beginning with its meeting in January 2009, Switzerland will chair and Singapore will serve as vice-chair of this Group, whose name will also officially change from the GMS Interim Working Group to the GMS Implementation Group.

Quality Link Measurement

The Quality of Service Link to Terminal Dues User Group (QLUG), chaired by Denmark, heard updates on the results of its previous meeting as well as that of the Validation and Review Committee. All of the activities proposed during those meetings were endorsed, including passage of a 30-day deadline for filing any appeal to QLUG or Validation and Review Committee decisions. The United States is Vice-Chair of the QLUG.

The Group endorsed the following proposals:

  • Critical Tag Time: It was agreed that the Critical Tag Time would not be set before 13:00 hours. The preferred minimum time is 15:00 hours; however, with supporting documentation an earlier time could be granted.
  • The “handover point” was defined as the place at which the originating transport provider relinquishes possession of the mail. This represents a major change as the handover point was formerly defined as the exchange office at which mail arrived.
  • Gate location for the purposes of terminal dues will be the handover point and the entrance of the office of exchange.
  • The term “metropolitan areas” will replace the word “city”. This change will enlarge the geographical area represented by the city.

All proposed changes will be incorporated into the User Guide. The USPS is already in compliance with all the agreed upon changes and will benefit from the more accurate quality of service measurement. Other member postal operators that adopt these measures will also benefit.

Quality of Service Fund

The QSF Board’s Finance and Investment Committee examined the security of its investments in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis and confirmed that short-term money market investments with safe institutions are preferable in the current, highly volatile financial situation. The Committee approved a list of "off-limit" investments and noted that the U.S. Dollar-Euro portfolio balance would need to be readjusted and fine-tuned.

The Fund continues to cover its management costs without difficulty. More detailed forecast analyses would be needed, however, to take account of Geneva Congress decisions (the future study on billing, the support provided by the IB and the sharp increase in the number of bills to be generated with the new classification adopted) and the expected return on investments.

The Board of Trustees approved several new project proposals, as well as a passel of final reports, evaluations and project change requests. Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea submitted project proposals for the first time.

The Board also heard an update on the Global Monitoring System. Several postal operators are expected to seek QSF funding for the deployment of the pilot for the System. Outstanding questions remain about the performance indicators to be included in QSF project proposals. For example, should the performance indicators refer to the proper installation and operation of the equipment (gates, etc.)? Or should the performance indicators refer to the actual results on quality of service collected through the System? The Board is conscious of the problems encountered during the deployment of the IPS and IPS Light tracking systems. Some beneficiaries of regional QSF projects do not actually transmit data using these systems, despite the fact that data transmission is one of the principal project objectives.


Postal Security

The Postal Security Group, chaired by the U.S., reviewed its security strategies and work for the 2009-2012 cycle. As security is an integral part of the Nairobi Postal Strategy, participants agreed that the following priorities would guide the Group during the upcoming four year cycle: preventing personnel injuries caused by dangerous goods in the mail; deterring loss or theft of mail; combating revenue and asset losses; and ensuring the continued confidence of postal customers. The development of security standards for the postal sector will lay the foundation for continuing efforts to develop interoperability and interconnection of national postal networks.

Participants heard several presentations on security initiatives, including anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism, protecting against the loss of revenue from bulk mail and postal meters, security standards, the Postal Union of the Americas, Spain and Portugal (PUASP) certification model and the future eMaria application designed to collect data on operational irregularities. The following project groups were formed to carry out the mission of the Group:

  • Dangerous Goods.
  • Global Mail Security: Dedicated experts tasked with working with Customs authorities in order to combat counterfeit and pirated goods. This project group will also consider Geneva Congress Resolution C 23 regarding security standards.
  • Information Security.
  • International Revenue Protection.
  • Strategic Planning: To help anticipate emerging security trends, ensure ongoing assessment and development of the Group’s mission and activities, and act as a sounding board for ideas and opportunities.
  • Anti-money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism: Experts to work with POC Committee 3 on Postal Financial Services on the development of guidelines and training.

The Postal Security Group also agreed to continue training, airport security reviews and consultant missions related to postal security. A comprehensive regional approach for training will be developed.


Cooperatives

EMS Cooperative

Criteria for membership has become a serious issue for the EMS Cooperative since the Cooperative decided to make participation in the EMS Pay-for-performance Plan mandatory from 1 January 2009. A Cooperative team working on this issue, which held several teleconferences following the Geneva Congress, put forward three options upon which the Cooperative will vote before the end of the year.

The three options under consideration are as follows: form a committee to determine whether or not sanctions should be imposed upon members that do not meet the minimum requirements; create a provisional membership class for those members that do meet the requirements; or delay introduction of the Plan until 1 January 2010. These options were discussed at the EMS Workshop held on October 31 in Bern, but no formal decision was reached as these options would require formal amendments to the EMS Cooperative statutes.

Current requirements for membership in the Cooperative include transmission of tracking data to one of the networks (POST*Net or GXS), participation in the EMS Cooperative Pay-for-performance Plan and active use of the Internet-based Rugby customer service system.

Telematics Cooperative

The Cooperative’s three user groups – for international mail, financial services and advanced electronic services – heard updates and presentations on the following subjects:

  • Continued IPS testing of the new CARDIT/RESDIT messages (UPU standard M39).
  • Generation of new PREDES v 2.1 messages and improved accounting and sampling in next version of IPS version 5.01, as well as future capability in IPS for electronic verification notes and the CUSITM and CUSRSP messages for exchanging data between posts and customs.
  • Current use of PTC mail applications by 146 designated postal operators.
  • Liaison between the Cooperative and the European Telecommunications Standards Institute on a standard for registered email.
  • A funding model and preliminary technical design for global hybrid mail service, and issuance of a formal request for information for a global hybrid mail business solution.
  • Current negotiations between the UPU and Internet Corporation on Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on a Top Level Domain Agreement for .post. Asit turns out, the UPU is the first intergovernmental organization to apply for a sponsored Top Level Domain with ICANN.
  • A new secure email service for registered mail called “Incamail” developed by Swiss Post.

Transport Group

At its inaugural meeting, the Transport Group, chaired by France, reviewed the terms of reference for the International Air Transport Association (IATA)-UPU Contact Committee, drew up a list of postal candidates for the Committee and recommended that the chair of the Transport Group lead the postal contingent. The Group’s four-year work plan will focus on the model airline–post framework agreement; updates to the IATA Airport Handling Manual; wider use of CARDIT and RESDIT messages between posts and airlines; solutions for problems related to airmail transit, such as bad debtors, unplanned handovers and interline transfers; and the lack of documentation for airmail and surface air lift (S.A.L.) dispatches. This Group plans to work in close liaison with the Operations and Accounting Review Project Group.


Direct Mail Advisory Board


Vice-Chair Saudi Arabia chaired the Direct Mail Advisory Board (DMAB) Assembly, which 55 participants attended, some from afar via web streaming and teleconference.

The meeting opened with keynote presentations on the topic “Is there a future for direct mail?” Presenters from InfoTrends, International Post Corporation, and Swiss Post International concluded that yes, there is a future for advertising mail, which provides an important growth opportunity for postal operators. (The presentations can be found at the following link: www.upu.int/dmab/en/conferences.shtml.)

The latter part of the meeting focused on decisions related to the functioning of the DMAB. Elected by acclamation to the DMAB Steering Committee through 2012 were New Zealand Post, Nigerian Post, Royal Mail, Saudi Post, Swiss Post, the U.S. Postal Service, Experian, IPC, PostCom, Quad/Graphics and Xplor Italia. The DMAB Chair shall now be Saudi Post, while the non-postal Vice-Chair will be IPC. In accordance with DMAB rules of procedure, several members, both postal and non-postal, were excluded from this meeting due to non-payment of their fees. The Assembly also approved a number of revisions to its rules of procedure concerning participation, proxies and voting – on certain issues – by web, video conference, audio conference, email or mail.


Part II: Council of Administration


Plenary

The Plenary opened with reports from the Coordination Committee and its own Management Committee, which reviewed the interest expressed by member countries to participate in the various POC and CA groups during the 2009-2012 cycle. The Committees also reviewed the draft Programme and Budget for 2009-2010, the accreditation procedures for members of the Consultative Committee, and the UN Joint Inspection Unit report, all of which were subsequently discussed during the CA plenary.

The CA Rules of Procedure were adopted with minor revisions reflecting Congress decisions regarding the use of the term “postal administration”, clarification of “de jure observers”, and the addition of Palestine and Armenia to the list of observers. Canada raised concern over the functioning of the joint CA/POC Committees created at Congress and their proposed single annual meeting schedule, but the CA approved the meeting schedule for these joint committees as proposed by the IB, that is, only during the CA sessions. The Plenary approved the proposed CA structure and composition, and further created the Terminal Dues Working Group under CA Committee 1 on Governance Issues.

The CA designated ten members, including the United States, to serve on the Reform of the Union Project Group, which will report to CA Committee 1 on Governance Issues. The CA also referred to the newly-formed Reform of the Union Group, to be chaired by Belgium, a proposal by Spain to study an accreditation procedure for participation in CA and POC sessions, and procedures for participation by Consultative Committee members in meetings of the CA and POC as well as those of the Consultative Committee itself.


Governance

CA Committee 1 on Governance discussed a wide range of subjects, including the following issues:

  • The Geneva Congress decision on the issues surrounding extraterritorial offices of exchange (ETOEs) and international mail processing centers (IMPCs). Here the Committee endorsed a study to be conducted in early 2009 on the legal and practical aspects of ETOEs and IMPCs as well as the codes associated with IMPCs. The IB will present the results of the questionnaire at the heart of this study to the October 2009 CA.
  • Promotion of "best practice" experiences on postal regulatory issues through a seminar to be held during the CA session in the fall.
  • Study on the impact of new technologies on the activities of the UPU.
  • Governance issues related to the .post project.

With regard to World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations, the Committee heard a brief report on agricultural subsidies, agricultural and industrial tariffs and services from the WTO Secretariat. Although WTO members reached convergence on a number of issues, the July 2008 WTO negotiations held in Geneva separately from the UPU Congress ultimately collapsed. Nevertheless, a group of roughly 30 WTO Ministers, including the EC Trade Commissioner, exchanged signals on what new services commitments they were willing to undertake as part of a final package for the Doha Development Round. Ministers addressed specific requests in a variety of sectors, including postal and courier services. Several delegations made specific reference to possible improvements in commitments covering express delivery services.

The Committee also set out the work plans of its several Groups. The Universal Postal Service Group, to be chaired by Indonesia, will study and promote all regulatory aspects of universal postal service obligations. The Reform of the Union Group will study possible adjustments to the Union's mission, examine the organization and financing of extra-budgetary activities, and facilitate the integration of Consultative Committee members and strengthen their role in UPU activities. The Acts of the Union Group, also to be chaired by Belgium, will seek to modernize and update the UPU Acts. A Group to study Interconnectivity, chaired by Nigeria, will look at issues relating to ETOEs and IMPC registration by non-designated operators, as well as regulatory questions regarding interoperability and UPU standards between operators in a liberalized market environment. At the suggestion of the U.S. and others, Committee 1 established the Terminal Dues Governance Issues Project Group, which will be chaired by Malaysia.


Development and Cooperation

CA Committee 2 on Development and Cooperation, chaired by China, reviewed several Congress documents related to the development cooperation policy for the 2009-2012 cycle and heard oral reports on a meeting between the IB and several Restricted Unions held in Bern the previous week.

Discussion centered on the status of the Committee as a joint POC/CA entity. The IB explained that CA Committee 2 would meet only during the annual CA sessions but would present a report to the POC Plenary. Continuity will be assured by groups which would meet during both POC and CA sessions. These include the Sustainable Development Project Group and the Postal Economics Group, both chaired by France, and the Technical Cooperation and Postal Reform Group chaired by Cameroon. The Committee took great care to ensure equal representation from developing and industrialized countries.

The IB noted that the development cooperation policy of the UPU would be implemented through three key elements: the Regional Development Plans; the new organization of UPU presence in the field, in the form of Regional Coordinators instead of Regional Advisors; and new financing of cooperation activities. Several countries expressed concern about the elimination of the Regional Advisors as well as the competence and commitment of the Regional Coordinators who would replace them in light of the Geneva Congress decisions to downgrade the level of these jobs from P 5 to P 3. The IB explained that this change was necessary due to the level of expertise needed under the new structure and for budgetary reasons.

It was explained that UPU development cooperation strategies and processes would be carried out in the following manner:

  • The IB develops the development cooperation plans.
  • The Restricted Unions participate in the elaboration and implementation of projects.
  • The Regional Coordinators coordinate all aspects of the process and are linked directly to projects. The Regional Coordinators will also represent the IB in regional administrative matters.
  • Regional and national specialists will implement the projects.

The Committee also reconstituted the Postal Economics Project Group as well as the Sustainable Development Project Group and related work programs according to applicable Geneva Congress decisions and resolutions.


Finance and Administration

In addition to the creation of a Human Resources Group and an Ad Hoc Group to study the creation of an audit advisory committee, the most important issues taken up by CA Committee 3 on Finance and Administration, chaired by Tunisia, were the UPU Programme and Budget for 2009-2010 and a review of the UPU conducted by the UN Joint Inspection Unit. The U.S. is the Vice Chair of this Committee.

The 2008 Geneva Congress had passed a budget ceiling for the 2009-2010 Programme and Budget that shall not exceed 37 million Swiss Francs. This ceiling adheres to the policy of Zero Nominal Growth. At the final POC Plenary session, the IB presented a budget proposal for the 2009-2010 period totaling 73,247,233 Swiss Francs that contained a 2.59% increase over the budget of the previous biennium as well as a reduction in the number of individual programs in the budget from 48 to 27 programs. The individual contribution unit increased from 39,990 to 40,993 Swiss francs. (As one of five countries in the 50-unit category, the annual U.S. assessment to the UPU will be 50 units times 40,993 Swiss Francs for a total of 2,049,650 Swiss Francs.)

At the POC Plenary, the U.S. expressed serious concern regarding the manner in which the work and budgetary allotments for EMS had been combined with that for Letters and Parcels in the Programme and Budget documents. Letters and Parcels are mandatory services governed specifically by the detailed provisions in the UPU Convention, the Letter Post Regulations and the Parcel Post Regulations. Concerns were raised regarding attempts to combine an optional, competitive service such as EMS together with the services governed by the UPU Convention. In the past, the competitive nature of EMS prompted regulators from various countries to insist that funding for EMS be kept separate from funding for programs which support letter post and parcel post, and ultimately led to the creation of the EMS Cooperative, a voluntary organization of postal operators which is funded separately from the ordinary UPU budget. In the U.S. view, combining EMS (or any postal financial services) with Letter Post and Parcel Post is a retrograde move which will inevitably result in negative consequences for the UPU. The UPU’s new financing method is composed of Pillar I (mandatory contributions), Pillar II (extrabudgetary structures such as the EMS Cooperative) and Pillar III (voluntary contributions of various kinds). During the presentation of the 2009-2010 Programme and Budget, the extrabudgetary structures were described as being “linked to universal service” as well as to the overall mission of the UPU.

At the POC Plenary, and again in this Committee, the U.S. stressed that the funding amounts allotted to each individual program in the Programme and Budget document should be guided by priorities expressed by member countries in a survey conducted by the Strategic Planning Group and the IB in late 2007. The IB assured the Committee that the Programme and Budget document reflected the priorities expressed by the countries which had responded to this survey.

The Committee heard a presentation by the author of the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit report on the management and administration of the UPU. Due to a lack of time, member countries were not afforded the opportunity to pose any questions directly to the JIU representative. In the midst of the Committee’s consideration of this subject, a representative of the UPU Staff Association took the floor to communicate the views of the IB staff on the JIU report, but his statement was curtailed. Committee C 3 did, however, approve a proposal put forward by the U.S. to form an ad hoc group to study the possibility of creating an audit committee which would advise the CA on oversight issues. If created, the audit advisory committee would be responsible for, among other things, monitoring the IB’s actions in response to the JIU recommendations.

Several delegates subsequently expressed disappointment that insufficient time – a single three hour session – was scheduled for Committee 3, particularly as this Committee is responsible for several important matters, including the approval of the biennial UPU Programme and Budget and the review of reports issued by external entities that oversee the UPU.


UPU Strategy

CA Committee 4 on UPU Strategy took up the functions related to drafting, reporting on and implementing UPU Strategy as well as the allocation of responsibilities and its working method over the coming four-year period.

At its constituent meeting in Geneva in August 2008, the CA had created this Committee and named Canada as its Chair. This is a joint POC/CA Committee, composed of member countries of both the CA and the POC, which is responsible for all issues relating to UPU strategic planning; prioritization of the goals in the UPU Strategy and Programme and Budget; monitoring the implementation of the Nairobi Postal Strategy; and drafting the UPU Strategy (the Doha Postal Strategy) to be submitted to the 2012 Congress.

The Committee approved its organization structure, which has the three following Groups described below.

  • The Strategy Planning Group will develop the Doha Postal Strategy, including the conduct of annual or biennial surveys to collect the views of member countries’ views on priorities in this Strategy in the UPU Programme and Budget. The Group will reconfigure the Doha Postal Strategy and the 2011-2012 UPU Programme and Budget by priorities as expressed by member countries and Restricted Unions.
  • The Strategy Implementation Group will ensure that the Nairobi Postal Strategy is implemented at the national, regional and global levels on the basis of priorities and available financing; determine implementation strategies; monitor the work done by the Committees and Groups that report to the CA and POC; reallocate available resources based on the expenditure ceiling and budget; and support member countries in implementing the Nairobi Postal Strategy,
  • The Strategy Reporting Group will regularly communicate the results of the Nairobi Postal Strategy implementation to Union member countries and gather quantifiable and independently verifiable information (preferably in the form of annual report cards) on the efforts by member countries to achieve the objectives of the Nairobi Postal Strategy.
Consultative Committee

As its first order of business, the Consultative Committee re-elected Charles Prescott of the Global Envelope Manufacturers Association as its Chairman. In his opening remarks for the meeting, UPU Director General Edouard Dayan noted that only eight of the 19 members have paid their annual contribution of 4,000 Swiss Francs. Jean-Philippe Ducasse of Pitney Bowes, representing PostCom, gave a presentation promoting a Revenue Protection Group that the Committee endorsed and that will work in coordination with the Postal Security Group. The Committee also endorsed its overall work plan for 2009-2010 that will focus on addressing, sustainable development and membership development, with a Global Addressing Summit planned for 2009.


Annex 1

The U.S. Delegation to the 2008 sessions of the UPU Postal Operations Council and Council of Administration held October 27 to November 14 in Bern, Switzerland.

Head of Delegation


Gerald Anderson
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of International Organization Affairs
U.S. Department of State

Deputy Heads of Delegation


Dennis M. Delehanty
Director for Postal Affairs, Office of Technical and Specialized Agencies
Bureau of International Organization Affairs
U.S. Department of State

Lea Emerson
Executive Director, International Postal Affairs
U.S. Postal Service

Delegates


Patricia Barnwell
Program Manager, International Postal Development
U.S. Postal Service

Clayton Bonnell
Program Manager, Intelligent Mail
U.S. Postal Service

Peter Chandler
Program Manager
U.S. Postal Service

Thomas Day
Senior Vice President, Intelligent Mail and Address Quality
U.S. Postal Service

Ann Fisher
Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations
Postal Regulatory Commission

David Hamilton
Business Systems Manager
U.S. Postal Service

John Holden
Director, International Processing and Performance
U.S. Postal Service

Brian Hutchins
Manager, International Relations
U.S. Postal Service

Israly N. Echegaray
International Economist
U.S. Department of Commerce

Katherine Lawrence
Program Manager Postal Affairs,
Office of Technical and Specialized Agencies
Bureau of International Organization Affairs
U.S. Department of State

Allison Levy
International Policy Advisor
Postal Regulatory Commission

Bruce Marsh
International Postal Affairs Specialist
U.S. Postal Service

Laree Martin
Attorney
U.S. Postal Service

Flori McClung
Program Manager, POC Chair Issues
U.S. Postal Service

Otto Van Maerssen
Economic Counselor, U.S. Mission Geneva
U.S. Department of State

Oscar Villanueva
Inspector in Charge, Global Security and Investigations
U.S. Postal Service

Philip Warker
Branch Chief, Cargo Conveyance and Security, Office of Field Operations
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Daniel L. Watson
Director, Services Trade Negotiations
U.S. Trade Representative

Annex 2


Glossary of abbreviations and terms


If a scroll bar appears below the following table, swipe the table to move left/right of the dashed line.
Abbreviation or term Full name or explanation

CA Council of Administration
CARDIT A UPU technical standard for EDI messages from origin postal administrations to airlines regarding handover of international mail dispatches to the airlines
EDI Electronic Data Interchange
CUSITM and CUSRSP UPU technical standards for EDI messages related to information required for custom clearance of postal items
EMS Express Mail Service
ETOE Extra-territorial Office of Exchange
EC European Commission
EU European Union
GMS Global Monitoring System
IATA International Air Transport Association
IB International Bureau (the UPU secretariat in Bern, Switzerland)
ICANN Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
IMPC International Mail Processing Centers
IPC

International Post Corporation

IPS International Postal System (Tracking application developed and deployed by the UPU’s Postal Technology Centre)
IPS Light A web-based version of the IPS application.
JIU United Nations Joint Inspection Unit
POC Postal Operations Council
POST*Net A network operated by the UPU Postal Technology Centre to which mail tracking data is transmitted
PREDES A UPU technical standard for EDI message sent from the origin postal operator to the destination postal operator regarding international mail dispatches
PT Project Team
PTC Postal Technology Centre
PUASP Postal Union of the Americas, Spain, and Portugal
QLUG Quality of Service Link to Terminal Dues User Group
QSF Quality of Service Fund
RESDIT A UPU technical standard for EDI messages from destination postal operators to airlines and origin postal operators regarding the receipt of international mail dispatches
RFID Radio Frequency Identification
UPU Universal Postal Union
USPS United States Postal Service
WCO World Customs Organization
WTO World Trade Organization
XML Extensible Markup Language