Working closely with Australia Post, we represent Australia at the Universal Postal Union (UPU). The UPU is the United Nations organisation that sets the rules and standards for the exchange of international mail between its 192 member countries. Our work in the UPU covers a range of areas relating to the operation and development of the global postal network. Australia is also a member of the Asian-Pacific Postal Union, which facilitates cooperation within the Asia Pacific region.
Outcomes of the 2023 Universal Postal Union Extraordinary Congress
The 2023 Universal Postal Union Extraordinary Congress was held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 1–5 October 2023 to consider reforms to further open the UPU to the wider postal sector and other urgent postal issues. Key outcomes included greater involvement in UPU decision making for the wider postal sector and a commitment to improving interoperability standards in the postal supply chain.
Greater involvement in UPU decision making for the wider postal sector
Since 2004, UPU member countries have been supported in decision-making by the wider postal sector through a body known as the Consultative Committee. Membership of the Committee includes commercial postal operators, peak bodies, e‑retailers, courier and logistics companies, high-level figures from the postal sector and academia. The Consultative Committee operates independently of member countries, attends UPU meetings and provides advice on matters under discussion.
The 2021 Abidjan Congress adopted major reforms to the Consultative Committee, providing it additional autonomy and flexibility. The Riyadh Extraordinary Congress adopted additional changes to give the Consultative Committee further autonomy. This included enabling the Consultative Committee and its members to take a more active role in UPU meetings, attend sub-committee taskforces and working groups, and the creation of a streamlined path for the Consultative Committee to bring forward proposals for member country consideration.
Further information about the Consultative Committee, including information on eligibility and application forms, can be found on the UPU website.
Requests for approval to join the Consultative Committee can be emailed to the department for consideration.
Emerging interoperability standards in the postal supply chain
The Riyadh Extraordinary Congress committed to improving interoperability standards on commercial terms, to enable greater collaboration between postal operators and wider postal sector players at all points in the supply chain. The decision focused on 3 key components:
- To create new, voluntary contractual and standards frameworks to permit commercial operators and UPU designated operators to exchange items after commercial customs clearance for 'last mile' delivery. This framework will be optional, but it is expected that over time a standardised approach would allow commercial and UPU designated postal operators greater flexibility to connect to various UPU and non-UPU systems and take advantage of operational efficiencies.
- To develop a new postal-cargo transport marketplace that will bring together users and suppliers of UPU-certified international transport services for postal and commercial items.
- To enhance existing UPU IT systems to allow items to be more efficiently added to the UPU supply chain prior to departure from the country of origin and reduce integration costs between commercial and UPU designated operator systems.
These changes are expected to deliver improvements to pricing for customers, faster delivery times, greater customer visibility of postal items, more reliable and resilient services and improve the environmental sustainability of the global postal system.
Delivery of these 3 components will be driven and funded by a user-funded subsidiary body (USB). The USB will have oversight of the operational, commercial and technical changes necessary to create the above components. These will be further considered at the 2025 UPU Dubai Congress.
Please contact us via email if you are interested in partnering with the UPU on this work or to learn more.