Switzerland tops UPU’s postal development index, special award given to Poste Italiane for discovery of bullets addressed to Pope Francis
Friday 8 October 2021
On World Post Day, UPU DG says innovation is driving recovery
In a statement for World Post Day, the Director General of the Universal Postal Union Bishar A. Hussein told the international postal sector, “Innovation is not an accessory; it is the driving force behind recovery, and what makes this sector crucial to billions of people.”
The UPU head was speaking at a special virtual event celebrating World Post Day (9th October), which raises awareness of the Post’s role in the lives of people and businesses, as well as its contribution to socio-economic development. This year’s World Post Day theme is “Innovate to Recover.”
A World Post Day message from the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres highlighted the global nature of the sector. He said, “The vast postal network […] is woven into our societies, connecting communities the world over.” Mr. Guterres praised postal workers saying, “We owe them our gratitude.”
After the opening ceremony, a special award was given to Poste Italiane for the discovery of bullets meant for Pope Francis by postal workers in a sorting office in the town of Peschiera, Borromeo, near Milan. Postal workers process billions of letters and parcels annually and risk handling bullets, bombs or even deadly illicit drugs in their daily work.
Vincenzo Aurelio, Head of Relations with International Authorities and Organizations, who accepted the award on behalf of Poste Italiane, said, “This award today is a great opportunity to shine a light on this silent, but crucial work carried out by every single postal worker, every day, which makes the post a trusted party and a key element of the country’s development and growth.”
An award was also given to Switzerland for coming first in the UPU’s annual postal development index. The index monitors and ranks the development of the postal network in countries around the world. Switzerland has been consistently ranked as the best performer since the index began five years go.
Accepting the award on behalf of Switzerland, Johannes Cramer, a member of the Executive Board and CEO of Logistics Services at Swiss Post, said, “The award is a tribute to all the hard work and dedication that I see in my colleagues every day. We are honored by this award and see it as a challenge to live up to this standard that we have set for ourselves in the coming years. A very big thanks to all my colleagues for their engagement!” Germany and Austria placed second and third respectively.
Since 1971, the UPU has encouraged young writers aged 9-15 to write letters on a given theme to win exciting prizes. To mark the 50th anniversary of the UPU’s International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People, the UPU announced that a 1978 letter of Mi-kyong Ryu from the Republic of Korea was chosen as the “Best of the Best” letter from the winning letters since 1972. The theme of the letter was “The postman, my best friend” and was chosen by UPU staff.
For the first time on World Post Day, the ceremony also featured an interactive session involving Government ministers and the CEOs of postal operators on how the international postal sector is innovating to recover from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a pre-recorded statement for World Post Day delivered to the virtual audience, the Chair of the UPU’s Council of Administration, Isaac Gnamba-Yao, said, "The health crisis has not got the better of the postal sector. On the contrary, we have testified to our adaptability and our willingness to continue to participate in the socio-economic development of our countries."
Jean-Paul Forceville, the Chair of the UPU’s Postal Operations Council (POC), said in his own pre-recorded statement, "As you know, crises are gas pedals of transformation. Thus, in the new structure of the POC, all the commissions are impacted by these challenges and the need for innovation."
The Universal Postal Union is a UN specialized agency with its headquarters in the Swiss capital Berne. Established in 1874, it is one of the world’s oldest international organizations and is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players.