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Tuesday, 28 April 2020
UPU News : COVID-19 from a postal security perspective
28.04.2020 - UPU Security Program Manager Dawn Wilkes shares a behind-the-scenes look into how the UPU is managing the COVID-19 pandemic and what postal operators can and are doing to deliver safely.
Union Postale: How is the UPU monitoring the global threat of COVID-19 from a postal security standpoint?
Dawn Wilkes: The UPU works transversally across its varied departments to provide support and necessary information to its member countries quickly and efficiently. In addition to the Emergency Information System (EmIS) messages that our Quality of Service colleagues are working to keep current and consolidated for our members, we have also created a Critical Response consolidation folder within the Postal Security Group Sharepoint. All members can access this folder to collaborate on the current situations in their own countries and regions, as well as understanding the responses from around the world.
Has the UPU developed any guidelines for Posts regarding pandemics?
As you know, the UPU’s S58 and S59 Security Standards set out the basics for security. Within S58, there is guidance associated with disaster risk management and business continuity. The disaster risk management procedures and business continuity plan are designed to be utilized and adapted to each unique situation and can help with any disaster or unexpected circumstance. Additionally, disaster risk management has been a focus of the UPU’s Development Cooperation Directorate for several years, with the majority of financial support being provided by Japan.
What are some best practices you see coming out of designated operators?
The best practices are some of the simplest. One that we have seen from several Posts consists of a very simple consolidated website for employees and customers. Creating one centralized location to inform both employees and customers about the status of the COVID-19 situation domestically and internationally, as well as allaying fears, allows for peace of mind and security across the board.
Have you seen any cases where postal operators are supporting government emergency response measures?
As I mentioned, some Posts have created centralized websites or links to information for both customers and employees, which include alerting customers of scams associated with the crisis. Currently, some Posts are in discussion to deliver test kits within their domestic territories and are investigating the safest method to implement.
What are some of the lessons learned from this pandemic?
Some lessons learned are to be agile and ensure your organization is prepared with the updated disaster risk management and business continuity plans. Posts should test these plans before any crisis to ensure consistency and fluidity when a crisis occurs. Organizations also need to establish strong relationships among internal and external stakeholders to creatively address issues.