logoDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Universal Postal Union (UPU)

1. What decisions or new strategies has the governing body of your organization taken to guide the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please provide a brief summary below, including the overarching vision of your governing body for the Decade of Action on the SDGs.

The UPU has developed its new strategy for the 2021-2024 cycle. Titled the Abidjan Postal Strategy, the draft is expected to be approved at the upcoming UPU Congress in 2020. The SDGs have had a central role in this strategy.

Based on the overarching aim of promoting socio-economic development and contributing to the achievement of the UN SDGs, the vision of the postal sector for 2030 relies on four key areas of action on reducing gaps, harmonizing regulation, enhancing operational performance, and integration of other stakeholders to enhance the role of the UPU. Not only is this Postal Vision congruent with the 2030 timeline of the SDGs, but also allows for the SDGs to be expressed right from the high-level vision to the detailed indicators. This allows for measurement of the postal sector's impact, both direct and indirect, in delivering the SDGs.

2. At the secretariat level, what steps has your organization taken (or will it take) in the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please specify actions, including but not limited to the following areas:

2.1 SDG-specific strategies, plans or work programmes;

For areas 2.1 and 2.3 mentioned above, KPIs have been developed for each one of the work programmes at the UPU, and these KPIs all have linkages to the higher-level Postal Vision 2030 indicators mentioned above. Thus, the work of the entire organization is expected to increase the impact of the postal sector in achieving the SDGs by 2030.

There are a number of actions taken by the UPU to support the principle of “leaving no one behind”. For instance, the first action area of the Postal Vision 2030 is focused on reducing development gaps “through increased investments and focused policies, and promote various ways to utilize the postal network for socio-economic development.” In addition, many indicators and expected impacts revolve around “leaving no one behind”. For example, one of the key indicators aim to have 100% of the population with access to postal services by 2030. This indicator is expected to be measured in all 192 UPU member countries.

2.2 Aligning the structure of the organization with the SDGs and the transformative features of the 2030 Agenda, including any challenges and lessons learned in doing so;

2.3 Readjusting or updating results-based budgeting and management, including performance indicators;

2.4 Action to enhance support to the principle of "leaving no one behind" and to integrated policy approaches;

2.5 Action to address the interlinkages across SDG goals and targets;

2.6 Others.

3. What normative, analytical, technical assistance or capacity building activities is your organization providing to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please provide a brief account of the activities you have organized or intend to undertake, including but not limited to the following areas:

3.1 Enhancing national implementation including by supporting the mainstreaming of the SDGs in development plans and policies or through national sustainable development plans/strategies;

3.2 Mainstreaming the SDGs in sectoral strategies, including specific SDG/target strategies;

3.3 Supporting the strengthening of national institutions for more integrated solutions;

3.4 Data and statistical capacity building;

3.5 Harnessing science, technology and innovation for the SDGs;

3.6 Multi-stakeholder partnerships;

3.7 Bolstering local action and supporting sub-national plans/strategies and implementation for the SDGs;

3.8 Leveraging interlinkages across SDG goals and targets;

3.9 Supporting policies and strategies to leave no one behind;

3.10 Supporting the mobilization of adequate and well-directed financing;

3.11 Reducing disaster risk and building resilience;

3.12 Supporting international cooperation and enhancing the global partnership;

3.13 Others.

Many significant aspects and activities for the upcoming 2021-24 cycle involve increasing the capacity of the sector. Aligned to the overall postal vision for the sector, there are three strategic pillars planned, which express what the UPU as an organization will aim to achieve by the end of the 2021–2024 cycle.

Capacity building activities seek to offer postal sector stakeholders quality advice, training and technical cooperation options to support them in navigating the challenges and opportunities of a fast-changing sector. In addition, a number of measures to provide assistance will be undertaken to support member countries to achieve their Postal Vision 2030 goals around reducing gaps, harmonizing regulation, enhancing operational performance, and integration of other stakeholders to enhance the role of the UPU.

Indeed, the postal sector aims to contribute significantly towards the achievement of the SDGs, and the UPU stands ready to support this objective.

4. The high-level political forum (HLPF) is the central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. Has your organization participated in or supported the work of the HLPF? If yes, please specify your involvement in the following areas:

4.1 Supporting the intergovernmental body of your organization in contributing to the thematic review of the HLPF;

4.2 Contributing to policy/background briefs for the HLPF;

4.3 Helping organize SDG-specific events in the preparatory process;

4.4 Organizing side events or speaking at the HLPF;

4.5 Supporting the VNR process.

Yes, the UPU has consistently supported the work of the HLPF through regular participation.

5. How has your organization cooperated with other UN system organizations to achieve coherence and synergies in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? In this regard, has your organization launched or intend to launch any joint programmes or projects in collaboration with other UN entities? Are there any results or lessons you would like to highlight that might help improve the design and impact of such efforts? Has your organization participated in any of the following coordination systemwide mechanisms or any other relevant platform - CEB, UNSDG, EC-ESA Plus, regional coordination meetings, UN-Energy, UN-Water, UN-Ocean, IAEG, IATT? Please specify which and indicate any suggestions you may have about improving collaborations within and across these mechanisms/platforms.

The UPU plays an active role in various UN-led coordination committees, including the Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) and its two main bodies (the High-Level Committee on Management, which discusses human resource and financial issues, and the High-Level Committee on Programmes). The Director General of the UPU International Bureau participates regularly in CEB meetings, which provide a forum for promoting UPU activities.

Similarly, in a report organized by the ITU and launched at the High-level Policy Forum (HLPF) held in New York from 10 to 19 July 2017[1], UN agencies recognized that information and communication technologies (ICTs) constituted both a risk and an opportunity in terms of achieving the UN SDGs. The UPU contributed to this report with a think piece which showed how the organization, as a unique knowledge centre for the postal sector, can leverage information and communication technologies (ICTs) in order to collect, share and ana­lyze data that supports development policies.

As an example of this added value, the UPU highlighted the work done in the context of the UPU–UN Global Pulse partnership, which revealed that by leveraging ICTs, the UPU's big data was able to generate reliable social and economic development indicators, even in cases of patchy macroeconomic data (e.g. where local statistical capabilities are weak). This data is invaluable for policymakers, donors, fundraisers, project managers and all key stakeholders in the technical cooperation arena who are eager to measure the potential and actual impact of projects in the field.

In addition, the UPU collaborates with a number of UN entities to achieve coherence and synergies in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. Some examples are provided below:

Financial inclusion

The UPU has been working very closely with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), another UN agency focused on financial inclusion, to leverage technical and financial synergies between the two organizations. For instance, the UPU and UNCDF have collaborated to support the postal operators in Myanmar, Solomon Islands and Zambia.

The UPU and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have been closely cooperating on build­ing solutions for migrants and their families, especially in the remittances and financial inclusion space. Progress has been made on the joint UPU and IOM project in Burundi, and key milestones reached. The domestic money transfer service called “Rungika” (based on IFS domestic) is live, active and avail­able to clients in remote areas across the country. Marketing activities for Rungika, including road shows and radio and TV spots, have been rolled out with the support of the IOM Burundi office. Financial education activities have reached more than 200 individuals, mainly women in rural areas, who benefited from training that aims to equip target beneficiaries with skills and knowledge in money management and budgeting, bank accounts, savings, investing, and credit, thus ensuring improved financial inclusion of rural populations.

In recent years, the two main objectives of the IOM–UPU project were fulfilled:

  • Access objective:
  • Rural population in Burundi has access to remittance services through the postal network (from 5 up to 139 post offices equipped with connectivity and tablets to provide the service);
  • Financial education activities implemented.
    • Affordability objective:
  • The new international service is cheaper, with transfer costs of between 2.5% and 4.5% maximum, depending on the amount sent.

Sustainable development

  • UN Environment
  • The IB performed an assessment of its 2017 greenhouse gas emissions in autumn 2018, and it achieved climate neutral status via offsetting. Moreover, the IB reported on its emissions, waste and water to the UN for the purposes of its Greening the Blue report, which compares the progress of all UN agencies. In February 2019, IB staff contributed to an online meeting of UN sustainability experts chaired by UN Environment, to plan the collection of environmental inventory data for 2018 and to develop the UN sustainability vision and strategy for 2020–2030. The quadrennial UN Climate Summit will take place in September 2019 and will shine the spotlight on the sustai­nability achievements or failures of UN agencies.
  • UN-Habitat
  • The Director General met with the UN-Habitat Executive Director; they discussed UPU addres­sing projects and the current and potential future role of the Post in smart cities and green logis­tics.
  • COP24
  • On 5 December 2018, the IB participated in COP24 in Katowice, Poland. The IB’s contribution focused on e-mobility in the postal sector as a vehicle to help transform the transportation sector through resilient infrastructure development and sustainable community services, and also included a brief presentation on the UPU Online Tool for Carbon Analysis and Reporting (OSCAR).

Disaster Risk Management

The UPU has held regular meetings with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the most recent of which was in October 2018. During the meeting, the parties discussed the possible contribution of the postal network to the Multi-Hazard Early Warning System being developed by the WMO. The idea is to establish ICT-based systems to forecast and monitor the impact of natural and man-made disasters, particularly in develop­ing countries, least developed countries and small economies. Early warning systems are important in developing countries, where search and rescue capabilities are quite limited. With early warning, local residents can start their evacuation in the early stage of a natural dis­aster. Capacity building using online training tools or guidebooks is equally important in developing countries, where local residents have limited awareness of natural disasters.

[1] International Telecommunication Union (2017), Fast forward progress: leveraging tech to achieve the global goals, available online: http://www.itu.int/en/sustainable-world/Pages/report-hlpf-2017.aspx

6. How has your organization engaged with stakeholder groups, both in supporting implementation at the country, regional and global levels, and within your own organization? If yes, please provide main highlights, including any lessons learned. If your organization has established any multi-stakeholder partnerships to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, please describe them and how their performances are being monitored and reviewed.

Yes, the UPU does engage with stakeholder groups, and has previously invited various external stakeholders to participate in high-level UPU events around topics related to the SDGs.

7. Has your organization organized any conferences, forums or events designed to facilitate exchange of experience, peer and mutual learning in connection with the SDGs? If yes, please provide a brief summary, below and include lessons learned and gaps identified based on the outcomes of these events. Please also include any events you want to organize in the coming years.

The 2018 UPU Ministerial Strategy Conference was held on 6 and 7 September 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as part of the second UPU Extraordinary Congress. Over 30 ministers and heads of international organizations took part, delving into the question of how to promote socio-economic development through the Post. The discussions constituted a milestone on the road to building a comprehensive agenda for the sector, to be achieved by 2030. Indeed, with a global network of over 677,000 post offices, 5.3 million staff, and a physical infrastructure covering 192 countries, the postal sector is a key contributor to national and international infrastructure. It plays an important role in national development and in the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

8. Is there any other information you would like to share, including annual reports of your organization and any impact assessment or evaluation reports? If yes, please use the space below and attach the document(s). Please also use this space to provide any other information, comments or remarks you deem necessary.

Link to annual reports: http://www.upu.int/en/the-upu/strategy/about-strategy.html

As a specialized agency of the UN system, the UPU is committed to the UN SDGs. As clearly outlined in the Istanbul World Postal Strategy, the organization is expected to support its member countries in efforts to implement the UN SDGs; it does so by analyzing the contributions made by the postal sector and the UPU to the achievement of these goals. This is fully in line with the organization's vision, which is to ensure that the "postal sector is seen as an enabler of inclusive development and an essential component of the global economy". All the UPU's key strategic goals for the 2017–2020 cycle are therefore aligned to one or several SDGs.

Indeed, with a global network of some 670,000 post offices, 5.2 million staff and physical infrastructure covering 192 countries, the postal sector is a key contributor to national and international infrastructure. It plays an important role in national development and in the attainment of the UN SDGs.

In order to ensure that it can measure the above-mentioned contribution, a dedicated measurement framework has been developed by the UPU. It involves data collection on the implementation of the different SDG goals, targets and indicators that are applicable to the postal sector. Based on the available data, the UPU assesses the degree to which each country's postal sector is contributing to the achievement of the UN SDGs.

As shown in the Postal Development Report 2018, UPU research has revealed that the postal sector has a potentially high impact on Goals 8, 9, 11 and 17 of the SDGs. The postal sector contributes to the achievement of Goal 8 through the promotion of financial inclusion. For Goal 9, the impact is achieved through the promotion of more robust global value chains. For both of these goals, postal interconnectedness (reach) is the key underlying factor. When it comes to Goal 11, the contribution is expressed through the sector’s greater resilience to natural disasters, when compared with other elements of the wider logistical infrastructure. For Goal 17, Posts work as promoters of greater Internet connectivity, leveraging all underlying dimensions (reliability, reach, relevance and resilience). The statistical findings that lead to these conclusions are all corroborated by studies and examples of projects in the field.

The main takeaway from this report is that the postal sector continues to be a key vehicle of socio-economic development. This should encourage governments, regulators and any other players with a stake in the sector to step up investments and draft level-playing-field regulations and policies to boost this critical element of national infrastructure.

9. In your view, what should strategic directions look like for the UN system in support of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs in the Decade of Action? What key elements should they include and what major challenges should they address?

More efforts should be made to actually use the UN SDG indicators (over 240 indicators collected by UN Statistics for the 169 targets and 17 goals).

10. Please suggest one or two endeavours or initiatives that the UN system organizations could undertake together to support the implementation of the SDGs between now and 2030.

Same as above. More efforts should be made to actually use the UN SDG indicators (over 240 indicators collected by UN Statistics for the 169 targets and 17 goals).