Looking back at the 2012 ministerial conference

Some 60 ministers participated in the UPU’s first-ever ministerial conference, which took place in 2012 during the UPU Congress in Doha, Qatar. The event also featured many postal players, including CEOs, and other international stakeholders.

While developing and industrialized countries face different circumstances, Posts everywhere are affected by rapid economic and technological changes. The ministerial conference is an opportunity to exchange experiences and ideas on these subjects, which are major issues for the global postal sector.

Some of the major themes that emerged at the 2012 conference included inclusive development of nations, dealing with the challenges of the digital age, and how the postal sector is evolving in response.

Inclusive development

Decision-makers were enthusiastic about how Posts play a role in poverty reduction and social inclusion.

In particular, Posts can improve the welfare of citizens through inclusive financial services. The presence of approximately 680,000 post offices worldwide, many of them in remote and rural areas, makes postal operators well-positioned to provide affordable services to people typically excluded from financial services. More than one billion people are already using postal financial services for their banking needs, including deposit accounts and remittances.

Address infrastructure was also discussed as it allows governments to provide essential services, such as water and electricity, to citizens who can be identified using an official address. Addresses can also help galvanize commercial activity, including e-commerce.

Challenges of change

Decision-makers also discussed the challenges faced by Posts, as falling mail volumes brought about by electronic substitution take their toll on revenues. Officials at the conference noted that keeping up with these changes means adapting staffing levels and facilities, while maintaining a constant focus on customer service. Other important changes noted by ministers at the conference included postal sector reforms, including the introduction of competition.