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  • 10/8/2005

World Post Day

9 October

World Post Day

is celebrated each year on 9 October, the anniversary of the establishment of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1874 in the Swiss Capital, Bern. It was declared World Post Day by the UPU Congress held inTokyo,Japan in 1969. Since then, countries across the world participate annually in the celebrations. The Posts in many countries use the event to introduce or promote new postal products and services.

In most countries philatelic exhibitions are organized during this period and special stamps and date cancellation marks are issued on 9 October. Other activities include the display of World Post Day posters in post offices and other public places; open days at post offices, mail centres and postal museums; the holding of conferences, seminars and workshops; as well as cultural, sport and other recreation activities.

A World Post Day message from the Director General of the Universal Postal Union is sent each year to all Posts, read during celebrations and published in the media.

The UPU in cooperation with UNESCO has, for the past 35 years, organized an International Letter-writing Competition for young people. Most participating Posts use World Post Day to award prizes to the winners of the competition.

World Post Day message from the Director General of the UPU International Bureau

The postal sector. An essential partner for the information society

With just a few weeks to go before this November’s World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which will be held inTunis (Tunisia), I wish to recall, on the occasion of World Post Day 2005, the important role played by the postal sector in reducing the digital divide around the world.

With huge challenges facing the international community, the postal sector is increasingly a partner of choice in the realization of the WSIS objectives, and is committed to working closely with governments, the private sector, other international organizations and representatives of civil society to bring the information society within reach of millions of people who currently lack access to the Internet or to information and communication technologies.

According to the action plan adopted after the first phase of the WSIS, in December 2003, the establishment of an infrastructure that provides access to information and communication technologies forms the bedrock of an integrated information society. With more than 660,000 post offices around the world, and a labor force of more than five million men and women, postal services are ideally placed to help make this a reality, and I am pleased to note that, in many countries, the postal sector is doing exactly that.

The Post is present almost everywhere. Even in the remotest corners of many countries. And serves as a key point of access to the outside world. Its doors are open to all, without discrimination, making it a fundamentally universal phenomenon, a force for integration. Today, the post office is so much more than the place you go to send or receive a letter or parcel; it is also a hub for electronic and financial services. For Bhutanese students living far away from their country’s capital, it provides a means of accessing their exam results via the Internet, while for thousands of Brazilians living in small communities along the Amazon, it offers direct access to the financial services they previously lacked, enabling them to save for the future and collect their pensions more quickly and easily, and in turn to reinvest in the local economy and lead more independent lives. Access to new information and communication technologies also means the ability to send a confidential electronic message securely, certified by an electronic postmark showing who sent it and when. And it provides a means of receiving parcels containing goods ordered over the Internet.

The world postal network has evolved greatly over the past few years. It is pushing back the physical, digital and financial frontiers through the effective use of new technologies. More than ever before, the activities of the postal sector are helping to build national economies and reduce poverty around the world. A good example of this is the phenomenon of international migration and money transfers. According to the UN, migrant workers make up 3% of the world’s population. These workers often leave their homelands to earn a salary that will enable them to build a better life for the family they leave behind. According to World Bank figures, migrant workers transferred sums totaling 110 billion USD in 2004, a 52% increase over the figure for 2001. And with an average of 200 USD being transferred, customers require services that are not only reliable but affordable too. Moreover, after direct investments, money transfers are the second biggest source of funding for developing countries. Thanks to the worldwide financial network, based on cutting-edge technology, which the Universal Postal Union is helping to build, migrant Pro workers, and millions of their fellow citizens, are set to benefit from a wider range of services, and the ability to perform time-certain money transfers at very reasonable cost. On this day, 9 October, World Post Day 2005, I invite people all around the world to pay a visit to a post office and find out what it has to offer. I am confident they will find services which are better adapted than ever to the new information society. By the same token, I invite governments, the private sector, international organizations and members of civil society who share our desire to bridge the digital divide to work in partnership with the postal sector, with all its tremendous assets and skills. Together, by creating lasting partnerships, we can provide millions of people with fairer access to communications and information: a human right and, for the postal sector, a core mission.

Suggested activities for World Post Day

– Issuing World Post Day press releases and arranging press conferences. Emphasizing the extensive worldwide postal network and the important role of the postal sector in bridging the digital divide.Consult the UPU websitewww.upu.int(press releases in the UPU News Centre section).

– Disseminating the message from the Director General of the UPU International Bureau and speeches, messages and interviews by senior government and postal officials via the press, radio and television.Consult the UPU website www.upu.int(World Post Day in the UPU News Centre section).

– Publishing articles on the UPU and the extensive worldwide postal network in postal magazines, information bulletins, staff newspapers and philatelic magazines. Again placing emphasis on the important role of the postal sector in the Information Society.Consult the UPU websitewww.upu.int (administrations are welcome to reproduce articles published on this topic in the Union Postale Magazine, see Union Postale in the UPU News Centre section).

– Issuing special postage stamps and first-day covers.

– Postmarking items with special cancellation slogans and date-stamps.

– Selling postcards devoted to World Post Day.

– Organizing, on 9 October, a "Postage Stamp Day".

– Displaying World Post Day posters in post offices and other public places.

– Distributing public opinion questionnaires, requesting suggestions for improving postal services.

– Organizing philatelic and other exhibitions on the postal service.

– Organizing composition and letter-writing competitions on the role of the postal sector.

– Presenting prizes to the winners of the UPU.UNESCO International letter-writing com-petition for young people as well as the winners of national and local competitions organized by the postal administrations. The theme for the next international letter-writing com-petition "I am writing to tell you how the postal service helps me connect with the world" can also be announced on this day.Consult the UPU websitewww.upu.int (International Letter-writing competition section)for more information.

– Allowing free entrance to Postal Museums.

– Organizing "open house" visits by the public and schoolchildren to post offices and mail centres.

– Paying tribute to postal employees by presenting awards for outstanding service.

– Organizing or sponsoring special cultural and sporting events.

– Distributing promotional items such as T-shirts, badges, stickers, etc., bearing the World Post Day slogan.

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