The annual session of the Postal Operations Council (POC) of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) was preceded as usual by meetings of the committees and working groups of the two Councils, which were held on 26-29 April at the UPU headquarters in Berne, Switzerland. The Portuguese delegation comprised ANACOM and the CTT postal service.
The project groups on the Union’s strategy met together on the so-called Strategy Day. The groups on Acts of the Union, Sustainable Development, Union Reform, Universal Service and Interconnect, all pertaining to the Council of Administration (CA), also met during this annual POC session. A highlight of this work was the meeting of the Acts group, which revised the General Regulations article by article per the proposals submitted and decided to endorse for the CA Japan's proposal to modify the Convention to make it (and the Payment Services Agreement) permanent Acts like the Constitution and General Regulations.
The Reform group saw presentation of the first conclusions and recommendations from the study produced by PriceWaterhouseCoopers on UPU reform and how to extend the Union to the new market players. The study’s recommendations are based on three principles: that the UPU will continue to be an intergovernmental organisation, continue to be sector-oriented and should allow increasingly more participation by new sector entities. They focus on five fundamental points of the UPU's activity: decision-making (which bodies are authorised to decide on which subjects), the issues of sectors versus integration, expansion to new postal sector players, a new platform for 'regulators' and, finally, the UPU budget. Enhanced participation by restricted unions and the harmonisation of rules for UPU extra-budget activities were two other subjects of lively debate on the Reform group's agenda.
Finally, the Interconnection group again focused on extraterritorial offices of exchange (ETOE) and international mail processing centres (IMPC), specifically in light of a proposal to define a UPU policy for this subject, another proposal to create a registry system for other operators and the discussion on the problem of having more than one operator designated by the member countries.
ANACOM also accompanied the meeting of the Electronic Services Group (ESG) of POC C4, which discussed the .post project the UPU has been developing with ICANN with a view to creating an internet domain for the postal sector. A new version of the Domain Management Policy (DMP) was approved, the creation of an identification system for participants in this .post community called PostID was discussed, the creation of an ad hoc group to study a management structure for the .post project was approved and two .post pilot projects were debated, on international registered mail (IRM) and addressed advertising.
The annual POC session continues until 13 May in Berne, gathering the COP committees and project groups and finally the plenary session. The 2011 session of the CA, which besides the project groups will also include the committees and the CA plenary session, will be held from this coming 24 October to 11 November.