The annual session of the Postal Operations Council (POC) of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), chaired by the United States of America, was held in Berne, Switzerland, from 16 April to 8 May. Portugal was represented at the meeting of Committee 1 - Standards and Procedures, chaired by Isabel Tavares of the CTT-Correios de Portugal (Portuguese postal service), and in the plenary meeting, and was also represented in the following meetings of Council of Administration (CA) project groups: Structure and Constitution of the Union (Committee 1 of the CA - Union Reform) and Acts of the Union (Committee 2 of the CA - Regulatory Affairs).
The work of POC Committee 1 focused on updating the Union Regulations (correspondence, packages and postal payment services agreement), following on the work carried out by the postal administrations and by the various groups, project teams and committees of the POC.
Noteworthy in the plenary session was presentation of the evaluation of the Union's programme and budget for 2005/2006, as well as the programme and budget for the period 2007/2008. Also submitted were reports from the Dubai Strategy Conference and the Advisory Committee, and reports from the various bodies of the Postal Operations Council. Information was also provided on activities of the Union Structure and Constitution group, as well as on preparations for the next Congress, to be held in Nairobi in August 2008.
As for the work conducted by the UPU Structure and Constitution working group, noteworthy was the presentation for debate of a Union reorganisation model, specifically with respect to the Council of Administration, the Postal Operations Council and the Advisory Committee, bearing in mind the UPU's intergovernmental nature and the principle of sovereignty of the member countries. The conclusions drawn in the legal study on the nature of the Union's regulations were additionally reported. Lastly, note the endorsement of a planned study to define the fundamental financial principles applicable to extra-budget activities.
Regarding the Acts of the Union working group, and taking into account replacement of the term ''postal administration'', as contained in the Acts of the Union, by the terms ''member country'' and/or ''designated operator'', the comments from POC Committee 1 were analysed, specifically from the responsibilities group, in the scope of claims and responsibilities. Note also, vis-à-vis replacement of the said term, the revision of the Convention Final Protocol.
The next session of the UPU Council of Administration will be held between 22 October and 9 November 2007. The dates for the 2008 sessions of the POC and CA, planned for January/February, may eventually be revised.