Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, the winner of the International Letter-writing Competition for Young People, is honored during the closing ceremony of the 26th Universal Postal Congress in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo: Ugur Cobanoglu)
Some 2000 representatives from 155 countries attended the Congress, during which they discussed more than 450 proposals.
Among the outcomes of the deliberations was the adoption of the World Postal Strategy Istanbul (SPMI), which sets the work of the UPU for the next four years.
The strategy – based on integration, innovation, and inclusion – aims to improve the interoperability of the postal network infrastructure, offer sustainable and modern products and promote the proper functioning of the market and the sector.
“The message we have received is that the UPU must transform itself and that Post offices must be able to transform themselves if we want to remain suitable in the future,” said Union Director General Bishar A. Hussein.
“We have a dynamic company that evolves every day, and technologies that are changing our business. We must be able to be agile and flexible in our activities,” continued Mr. Hussein.
Kenan Bozgeyik, Managing Director of PTT Corporation, who chaired the Congress, thanked the member countries: “Thanks to your vision and participation, we can build a bright future for the postal sector”.
Member countries have also adopted the Istanbul Business Plan, which guides the implementation of the IMP by setting out work proposals, objectives and funding for achieving the strategy’s goals.
The plan will be finalized taking into account all work plans adopted and decisions taken concerning the Union’s budget.
The closing ceremony of the Congress also saw the celebration of the winner of the 2016 edition of the UPU’s international letter-writing competition for young people, Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, who received a standing ovation from member country representatives after reading his letter aloud.
Trang, 15, lives in Vietnam’s Hài Duong province. She won the first prize with her touching letter written as little Syrian Aylan Kurdi, whose lifeless body had been found on a beach in Bordrum (Turkey). His photo had been widely distributed in the media and on social networks to illustrate the horrific conditions endured by refugees escaping the Syrian conflict.
“My dear 45-year-old friend, do you remember our story? We followed our parents to escape the war and violence in Kobani, dreaming of a “promised land” under the European sky. But our dream broke only twenty minutes after the boat departure.
“I am deeply moved by the words used by this young girl and by her vibrant tribute to this image that we have all seen,” commented Mr. Hussein.
The theme of the 2016 edition was “Write a letter to yourself at 45”. It marked the 45th anniversary of the international letter-writing competition for young people.
The Istanbul Congress designated Côte d’Ivoire as the host country for the 27th
Universal Postal Congress in 2020. The latter will be held in Abidjan.
Member countries have also decided to organize an Extraordinary Congress in 2018, during which they will discuss outstanding issues at the 26th Congress, including the reform of the Union. This Extraordinary Congress will take place in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia).
“On the way to Abidjan, with a stopover in Addis Ababa. The course is clear, and our enthusiasm and dynamism remain intact,” concluded Pascal Clivaz, UPU Deputy Director-General.
The 26th Universal Postal Congress was held from 20 September to 7 October 2016.