Postal Operations Council meeting (02-03.04.2009) - Berne

The 2009 plenary session of the Postal Operations Council (POC) of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) was held last 2-3 April in the Swiss capital Berne. It was preceded by meetings of the various POC committees and working groups, and also by a number of Council of Administration (CA) committee meetings.

Besides the activities report from each committee, including the joint CA/POC committee on Development and Co-operation (C4 CA/POC), the issue which generated the most discussion was approval of the POC Internal Regulations, which included two proposed amendments to that regulation: one from France, to improve article 4, which was approved (with a change suggested by Canada); and another from the USA, which sought to alter article 2 with the goal, instead of harmonising rules applicable to the creation and operation of all co-operatives or voluntary groups financed by extra-budget funds, to maintain the status quo with the argument that the solution did not require any reformulation of the co-operatives' operating method, but rather adjustment of the rules and legislation to the practice of the past several years. Although this was considered a possible alternative, the plenary session did not approve this proposal from the USA to modify the POC Internal Regulations, which was forwarded to the CA Reform Group (which is, however, a mixed group comprising members of the CA and POC) for study and evaluation of the respective impact. A final solution about this issue will only be submitted to the CA 2009 plenary meeting in November.

At the POC's 2009 plenary meeting a special session was held on the global economic crisis, with the theme topic of ''Impact of the Economic Crisis on Postal Activity''. It was moderated by Philip Dobbenberg and included speeches by IMF Director Emmanuel van der Mensbrugghe and TNT President Peter Bakker. The discussion coincided with the start of the G20 meeting in London; the director general of the UPU International Bureau (IB) called attention to this parallel by calling the UPU the G197. The debate's departure point was the idea, as shown by its meaning in Chinese characters, that a crisis may also imply a time of opportunities, for those players who know where to find them. The debate centred on the crisis’s panorama and perspectives, and later on its impact and the opportunities it may offer.

Lastly, the IB announced the dates of the Nairobi Strategy Conference (22-24 September 2010) and the 25th Congress (3-25 October 2012), and announced that the new UPU website would provisionally be launched this coming June. The next plenary meeting will be of the CA, from 26 October to 26 November 2009.