Universal Postal Union gets new chief, ready to keep letters coming in digital age

14 January 2005 – The Universal Postal Union (UPU), a United Nations specialized agency that is the world’s second-oldest international organization, got a new Director General today dedicated to keeping letters and parcels flowing smoothly around the globe even as the digital age is in full flight.

Edouard Dayan, a veteran French postal official, took over from outgoing Director General Thomas E. Leavey of the United States at a ceremony at the 190-member UPU’s headquarters in Berne, Switzerland, declaring his vision of an efficient, innovative, united and open organization, ready to use the tools of the new age.

Each year, 5 million employees process and deliver 424 billion domestic letter-post items, some 6 billion international items and more than 4.4 billion ordinary parcels. A few years ago, with two other countries, Mr. Dayan initiated the CAPE project for computerized monitoring of exchanges.

One of the new leadership’s immediate priorities will be to carry out the Bucharest World Postal Strategy, a four-year roadmap for the development of worldwide postal services adopted by the UPU’s member countries at last September’s Congress.

“At the heart of this world strategy are the provision of a universal service, quality of service and the postal network, markets development and responses to customer needs, the need for postal structural reform and lasting development of postal services, and finally cooperation among all sector stakeholders,” Mr. Dayan said. “To implement this strategy, which is the primary task of our organization’s newly elected bodies, the UPU is setting a course that resolutely points towards the future.”

Mr. Dayan is taking over at a time when UPU it is opening itself up to external stakeholders of the postal sector, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) representing customers, delivery service providers, as well as associations of workers, direct marketers, private operators, international mailers, philatelists and publishers, among others.

These stakeholders will now be represented by the Consultative Committee, which officially became a UPU body, alongside the Council of Administration and the Postal Operations Council, during the 2004 Bucharest Congress.

Guozhong Huang of China took over as Deputy Director General from Moussibahou Mazou of the Republic of the Congo at today’s ceremony. Predating the UN by seven decades, the UPU was founded in 1874, the second-oldest international organization after the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

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