The UPU’s Development Cooperation Directorate, with support from the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and donations from several member countries, is preparing to send essential personal protective equipment, such as masks, gloves and hand sanitizer, to least developed countries (LDCs) to help keep postal workers safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking about the project, UPU’s Director of Development Cooperation, Rudy Cuadra, said, “Postal staff on the frontlines were our first priority. They can only continue to serve others daily if they remain healthy and, naturally, this project came about with the aim of protecting the health of postal employees around the world.”
Many Posts have provided essential support to governments during the global crisis, helping to deliver important medical supplies and serve vulnerable populations who must remain home. The initiative will provide protection to those carrying out these essential postal services.
Nearly 40 LDCs have already requested personal protective equipment kits from the UPU through the initiative. Each kit will include 135,000 masks, 35,000 gloves and 1,500 pocket-sized bottles of disinfectant.
The UPU has committed 560,000 CHF to the initiative, including funds from its regular development cooperation budget as well as special contributions from China (People’s Rep.), France, Japan and Switzerland.
Through a special UN agency to UN agency agreement signed on 15 April 2020, UNOPS will provide logistical support for the UPU initiative. While the UPU will provide the funds and determine the quantities of the products purchased, UNOPS will the purchasing and transportation of the equipment to the selected LDCs.
The UPU has been doing its utmost to support its member countries since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. A special webpage detailing the UPU’s actions to facilitate global postal operations during this time can be viewed here: www.upu.int/en/covid-19.