Friday 20 April 2018

Plenary of Postal Operations Council opens; witnesses new agreement on helping to stem opioid tide

19.04.2018 - Opening the plenary session of the Postal Operations Council, the Director General of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) Bishar A. Hussein underscored the UN specialized agency’s need to provide modern products targeted at today’s postal sector.

UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein and INCB President Viroj Sumyai signed the cooperation agreement during the Postal Operations Council plenary session.
“Providing modern products that suit today’s market and customer requirements is the only way to enable the Posts to take part in the great opportunities created by e-commerce,” he told the packed assembly hall of representatives of member countries. 
Mr. Hussein emphasized that, in order to meet market expectations, UPU must work closely with member countries to facilitate capacity building. He said by doing so, the organization was helping to ensure the sustainability of the postal sector and was focused on the modernization of postal financial services for its member countries.
“With this in mind, we can note with satisfaction that there have been significant developments in postal payment services and supporting tools in line with Istanbul Congress decisions," Mr. Hussein added. 
In a ceremony also held at the plenary, UPU signed a cooperation agreement with the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). The new agreement takes place against the background of a spiraling epidemic in overdose deaths fueled by powerful fentanyl-related substances that can be 50 times more deadly than heroin.
There are concerns that Postal Services may be unwittingly delivering the substances leading to fears over postal worker safety due to possible contamination. In remarks at the signing, Mr. Hussein said, “We face a growing public health crisis due to synthetic opioids and other highly toxic substances and UPU is proud to work alongside INCB to protect postal employees, and the health of people everywhere.”   
The agreement seeks to promote technical assistance and training designed to increase cooperation against trafficking and improve the detection and seizure of these substances. UPU and INCB will also share information on trends and patterns in drug movements, as well as specific INCB information on known sources of dangerous chemicals, as well as alerts on concerned substances.
In his own address, the President of the INCB, Viroj Sumyai, said, “Today’s global drug landscape is far more complex and challenging than 30 years ago, when the last international drug control treaty was signed. Now there is a specific urgency to stem the increasing illicit flow of deadly fentanyl-related substances wherever they are encountered.”
The Council consists of 40 member countries and is geared towards helping Posts modernize and upgrade their postal products and services. It deals with the operational, economic and commercial aspects of the postal business. Running from 16 April to 20 April, the Council was attended this year by around 350 participants. 

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