The Universal Postal Union (UPU) has launched a new project to assist designated operators in developing countries in Asia-Pacific to recover from the global pandemic.
The project, called the Covid recovery initiative, has been conceived by the Development Cooperation Directorate (DCDEV) of the UPU. It will assist all 19 least developed countries (LDCs), small island developing states (SIDS) and landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) in Asia-Pacific to improve the delivery of mail following the pandemic.
Rudy Cuadra, Director of Development and Cooperation at the UPU, said, “During these difficult times, the revenue of many operators has suffered greatly, owing to lockdown measures and disruption to international transport networks. This is especially true in LDCs, SIDS and LLDCs. Operators in most of these countries are heavily dependent on revenue from international mail, which has been hit hard by the disruption.”
The aim of this project is to provide much needed IT equipment, such as computers, laptops, laser printers, scanners, label printers, weighing scales and electronic scales, to the designated operators. “The use of these IT tools will make track and trace, customs clearance, airline interfaces, customer response, and planning at each stage of the international mail flow pipeline much easier, thereby providing a better quality postal service,” added Cuadra.
Under the UN’s South-South and Triangular Cooperation mechanism, DCDEV issued a special appeal to all UPU members asking for their help with the project. “Following the appeal, the project received CHF 100,000 from Groupe La Poste in France and CHF 50,000 from the Government of Japan,” explains Cuadra. “In total, the project is worth CHF 425,990 and includes funds from the UPU core budget.”
The Asia-Pacific and South-South Cooperation Programme organized by Thakur Subhash Sinha and Procurement, Goods and Services Management Unit within DCDEV are responsible for implementing the project’s activities. “The IT equipment requirements within designated operators have been identified in consultation with them, and now the process of procurement has been launched,” adds Cuadra.
The Asia-Pacific Covid recovery initiative will also use South-South and Triangular Cooperation methodology to share best practices among the LDCs, and between industrialized countries, international organizations and LDCs.
According to Cuadra, LDCs, SIDS and LLDCs in Asia-Pacific are not likely to see their circumstances return to normal before late 2021, as vaccination programs are yet to start in most of these countries. As a result, physical training sessions, workshops and in-country missions during 2021 are impractical.
“By providing the designated operators of these countries with postal equipment in this year, the UPU will help posts to recover quickly from the impact of the pandemic and improve the quality of their mail services. Other activities can be planned and implemented after 2022, when mass vaccination campaigns will have been completed in most countries across the world,” noted Cuadra.