Extraordinary Council of Administration - October 2020

The Swiss city of Berne hosted last 26-27 October an extraordinary session of the UPU Council of Administration (CA), following the request by more than two-thirds of the member countries. The aim was to examine a set of proposals concerning the postponement of the 27th Congress, initially scheduled for August 2020, but postponed sine die due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Côte d’Ivoire maintained its intention to host the 27th Congress in Abidjan and proposed the alternative date of August 2021. Several African countries proposed the formal declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic as a force majeure reason that led to postponement of the 27th Congress, countering another proposal signed by the United States of America, France, Mexico, Japan, Slovenia and Thailand and supported by 45 other countries, which defended the need for the 27th Congress to be held in the year 2020 in order to hold elections and respond to budget concerns, postponing other matters to be deliberated by the Congress to an extraordinary Congress that would accordingly be held in 2021 in Côte d’Ivoire (should the health and safety conditions of the global pandemic so allow).

The CA ended up approving a proposal establishing that the Congress will be held in August 2021 in Côte d’Ivoire, unless by 30 June 2021 it is concluded that there are definitively no conditions for that to happen. In that case, the option will be for the alternative envisaged in the Acts, i.e. to hold the 27th Congress without a host country (at UPU headquarters in Switzerland) in September 2021.

The meeting was long and difficult, with staunch and heated arguments which, contrary to what was intended, served to polarise the UPU, even when, after the text of the final resolution was agreed on, various countries indicated that they were unhappy and requested that it be recorded in the minutes that the resolution is not consensual.

Ukraine presented the current financial director of the UPU’s International Bureau, Vladyslav Dubenko, as a candidate for the position of UPU deputy director-general.