Costa Rica, substituting Chile, held the chair at the annual session of the Advisory and Executive Council (AEC) of the Postal Union of the Americas, Spain and Portugal (UPAEP), which met last 17-19 March at the UPAEP headquarters in Montevideo, Uruguay. The gathering was preceded on 15-16 March by meetings of the working groups (WGs) of the Postal Regulation Forum and a meeting on Operative Aspects.
Participants in the Regulation Forum discussed the importance of human resource training, emphasising availability of the Trainpost tool from the Universal Postal Union (UPU). Competition in the region was also discussed, due to the recent signing of a business agreement between a designated European operator and a network of private Latin American operators to distribute mail from Europe to Latin America. The discussion on this and other postal regulation matters will continue in May 2010 at the colloquium Ecuador will host in Quito. In the Operative Aspects meeting, the discussion focused on complaints management and the Regional Development Plan (RDP) in the UPAEP region.
Besides financial issues, which usually take up most of the AEC agenda, the 2010 Council session reviewed results of the 21st Congress (August 2009 in Santiago, Chile) and settled the question that had remained open regarding the site of the next Congress, due to the withdrawal of Spain’s invitation: per the invitation from Cuba, the 22nd UPAEP Congress will be held in Havana in 2013.
Also, following up on what was decided at the 21st Congress, this AEC saw presentation of the conclusions from the ad hoc committee of the Working Group on Future UPAEP Development (WGFD), co-chaired by Portugal (WGFD chair) and Canada. This ad hoc committee was mandated by the Congress to prepare recommendations for AEC-10, with a view to reorganising the UPAEP structure. A new, slightly simplified structure was thus proposed, and it was concluded that more commitment is needed from the member states, especially regarding participation in the groups’ work.
The proposed reorganisation proposed by the WGFD ad hoc committee allows incorporation of the Investment Committee envisaged as a possibility at the 21st Congress and now created at the 2010 AEC session in order to centralise management of UPAEP’s investments. The Investment Committee will comprise Canada (chair), Chile, Mexico and the USA, with Ecuador and El Salvador as alternate members. Uruguay’s High Inspection Authority and the UPAEP General Secretariat will also take part in the Committee as observer and investment manager, respectively.
Finally, note the AEC-10 decision on the situation in Haiti, whose postal network was totally destroyed by the 12 January 2010 earthquake, with various member countries making donations for its reconstruction. Haiti asked that monetary donations be used to pay salaries of postal employees and indicated that it preferred to receive same via one single channel, favouring for that reason the UPU Contingency Plan. The UPAEP member countries opposed this, indicating that donations made in the UPAEP scope should be managed by the UPAEP General Secretariat (not the UPU) in a fund called “Restoration of Postal Services in Haiti”. The General Secretariat should make funds available on a case-by-case basis, per Haiti’s needs, which should solely comprise reconstruction and the re-establishment of operational postal services, thus rejecting the possibility of paying salaries with the donations.
Next year’s AEC session will be held on 23-25 March 2011 and be preceded by associated meetings on 21-22 March.