27th UPU Congress postponed indefinitely

Holding off from announcing new dates until the COVID-19 crisis recedes, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) has postponed its 27th Congress, which was scheduled for Aug. 10-28 in Abidjan, the largest city and “economic capital” of Ivory Coast.

“We will continue monitoring the situation in co-ordination with the Ivorian authorities and will propose appropriate dates once it is felt that the Congress can be held safely,” said Bishar Hussein, UPU director-general, in a statement issued April 20. “Naturally, the health and safety of delegates, participants and citizens of the host country will be given priority when selecting new dates.”

Held every four years in major cities across the globe, the Congress plays host to plenipotentiaries from the UPU’s 192 member countries, which gather to shape the future of the postal sector.

This year, the UPU’s member countries were expected to adopt the new “World Postal Strategy,” a roadmap for the new work cycle commencing in 2021. During the Congress, members would also determine new policies on the international exchange of postal items; elect the next UPU director-general and deputy director-general; and decide on the membership of the UPU’s Council of Administration and Postal Operations Council, the latter of which includes Canada.

Canada entered the UPU on Jan. 7, 1878, nearly four years after the union was established by the Treaty of Bern.

In addition to logistical administration, the UPU also outlines protocol for stamp issues through its Philatelic Code of Ethics, which was established in 1999 at the 22nd UPU Congress in Beijing, China.

The only UPU Congress held on Canadian soil took place in 1957 in the nation’s capital.

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