Letter-post is still in business.
Photo:UPU
 
UN Secretary-General António Guterres

On World Post Day, I thank postal workers and postal operators for your efforts, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Nations will continue to build on our partnership with you and the Universal Postal Union in our efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

UN Secretary-General's Message
 

Innovation, Integration and Inclusion

World Post Day is celebrated each year on 9 October, the anniversary of the establishment of the Universal Postal Union in 1874 in the Swiss Capital, Bern. It was declared World Post Day by the UPU Congress held in Tokyo, Japan in 1969. Since then, countries across the world participate annually in the celebrations. The Posts in many countries use the event to introduce or promote new postal products and services.

In 2015 countries all over the world committed themselves to working together towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to end extreme poverty and hunger, fight inequality and injustice, and take action to reverse climate change - to name just some of these 17 agreed new Goals. Playing its part in this global effort, the Post today has a more relevant role than ever by providing infrastructure for development.

 

Posts provide essential social and financial services during pandemics and beyond

With a network comprising more than 650,000 offices and 5.3 million staff globally, and a public service mandate from many governments, the Post is unparalleled in its ability to deliver services to anyone, anywhere.

As COVID-19 spreads like wildfire around the world, postal operators are introducing new and creative ways to keep the post moving. Posts have stepped in to offer everything from delivering critical personal protective equipment, testing kits and medications, to ensuring children receive their educational materials to continue their schooling from home.

 

UNPA issued stamps to support the COVID Solidarity Response Fund organized by WHO.

The COVID-19 crisis and the postal sector

The COVID-19 crisis has put pressure on international postal supply chains to an unprecedented degree. Given the criticality of postal services for the basic functioning of most economies, the report presents three near-future scenarios for the sector, in order to provide policymakers and postal operators with insights and suggestions on the way forward.

 

Background

The purpose of World Post Day is to create awareness of the role of the postal sector in people’s and businesses’ everyday lives and its contribution to the social and economic development of countries. The celebration encourages member countries to undertake programme activities aimed at generating a broader awareness of their Post’s role and activities among the public and media on a national scale.

Every year, more than 150 countries celebrate World Post Day in a variety of ways. In certain countries, World Post Day is observed as a working holiday. Many Posts use the event to introduce or promote new postal products and services. Some Posts also use World Post Day to reward their employees for good service.

In many countries, philatelic exhibitions are organized, and new stamps and date cancellation marks are issued. Other activities include the display of World Post Day posters in post offices and other public places, open days at post offices, mail centres and postal museums, the holding of conferences, seminars and workshops, as well as cultural, sport and other recreational activities. Many postal administrations issue special souvenirs such as T-shirts and badges.

For countries participating in the UPU International Letter-Writing Competition, national winners are often honoured on 9 October.

 

Did you know?

  • The COVID-19 crisis has put pressure on international postal supply chains to an unprecedented degree. Cross-border exchanges decreased by 21% between 23 January - 14 May 2020, compared to the same period the previous year.
  • The first known postal document, found in Egypt, dates from 255 BC. But even before that time postal services existed on nearly every continent in the form of messengers serving kings and emperors.
  • The Penny Black was the world's first adhesive postage stamp used in a public postal system. It was first issued in Great Britain, on 1 May 1840, but was not valid for use until 6 May.

International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People

Youngsters are invited to compose a letter to describe the world they want to grow up in.

Since 1971, the UPU has encouraged young writers aged 9-15 to write letters on a given theme to win exciting prizes. The competition is an excellent way of making young people aware of the important role postal services play in our societies. Get involved!

Established in 1874, the Universal Postal Union (UPU), with its headquarters in Berne, Switzerland, is the second oldest international organization worldwide (after the International Telecommunication Union, ITU); it coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system, and became on 1 July 1948 a specialized agency of the United Nations. 

In 2016, UNPA issued a special event sheet to commemorate World Post Day.

The United Nations is the only organization in the world which is neither a country nor a territory that is permitted to issue postage stamps. It is also the only postal authority to issue stamps in three different currencies, namely U.S. dollars, Swiss francs and Euro. The first United Nations stamps were issued in U.S. dollar denominations on United Nations Day, 24 October, in 1951.  UN stamps have illustrated the aims and achievements of the United Nations and its family of organizations.

International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.