Attached are three draft proposals for possible submission by the United States to the Doha UPU Congress. The subject of the first proposal, which was generated by the State Department, is disclosure of audit reports of UPU projects, activities, and finances. The second and third draft proposals, which were prepared by the U.S. Postal Service, concern International Mail Processing Codes and enhanced information regarding transit policy, procedures and charges.
Proposal of a general nature
U.S. Proposal 1
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Disclosure of audit reports of UPU projects, activities, and finances
that the finances of the Union have been the subject of external audits for many decades, and that internal auditing is a management function that was introduced to the International Bureau in the 1990s,
that the emerging trend among international organizations towards greater transparency with respect to audits, financial reporting, risk management, and internal controls has strengthened accountability and increased public confidence,
that several other UN organizations are poised to begin publishing, on a publicly available website, documentation regarding their regular financial and programmatic audits,
the Council of Administration to arrange to have published, on a section of the UPU website that is freely accessible to the public, full and complete documentation on both external and internal audits of the Union’s finances and programmes with appropriate safeguards for protecting individual confidentiality and due processes rights,
the International Bureau to assist in the publication of this information on the UPU website as directed by the Council of Administration.
Reasons. – Over the past several years, there has been a broad based effort to improve the governance of international institutions by making information on financial and management matters more readily available. As a result, member states and donors now have confidential access to internal audit reports at many international organizations. Such limited disclosure falls short of the level of transparency that ought to be provided by these institutions, and a new trend is emerging. Audits of central management functions at the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) are available to the public. Further, UNOPS together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have made a commitment to disclose all internal audit reports to the public with the approval of their respective executive boards.
Transparency builds trust between UPU and its stakeholders. As a steward of public funds, UPU must be able to show the general public that it upholds the highest standards of accountability. To help achieve this goal, audit information concerning UPU’s projects and activities should be publicly available except for specific circumstances where full disclosure would not be appropriate: protection of individual privacy, due process rights, safety and security, and commercial information whose release could cause harm to the UPU or its members.
Supported by. –
Proposal of a general nature
U.S. Proposal 2
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Improving the transparency and visibility of parties responsible for international mail processing centres
that international mail processing centres (IMPCs) serve vital functions as offices of exchange in the international postal network,
that IMPCs, in the increasingly complex postal environment, are now operated by designated operators and other operators in support of social, commercial, diplomatic, scientific, military, and other purposes,
Bearing in mind
that as the postal environment continues to evolve, a means for clear and direct identification of parties authorizing and responsible for IMPCs is of ever increasing importance,
that IMPCs are identified by a six-character code, which has proven to be a valuable, simple, and effective manner to distinguish IMPCs for operational, accounting, and other purposes,
that the IMPC code is now in widespread daily use beyond just letter, parcel, and delivery bills, and is an element present on over 50% of the list of UPU forms,
that currently determining the party that has authorized and is responsible for an IMPC requires the use of an electronic database that must be regularly maintained and updated,
that not all places where the IMPC code is used have access to the electronic database or other required capabilities,
that the direct identification of the party authorizing and responsible for the IMPC is a necessary component of the IMPC code to ensure that proper accounting, handling, and security measures are used,
that clear indication of the responsible party within the IMPC code provides greater transparency and accountability, and enhances other efficiencies such as ease of assignment, and greater flexibility in usage,
that the UPU has a strong heritage of responsibility and accountability of members, and that transparency and visibility is the best preparation for future development,
that the UPU and other UN organizations use a common, simple, international code list to identify countries and territories, which provides clarity regarding country names, which may vary due to language differences,
the Postal Operations Council to modify the IMPC code to increase the transparency and visibility of the party that has authorized, and is responsible for, the IMPC,
the Council of Administration, in consultation with the Postal Operations Council, to study modification of the Constitution Article 2 and General Regulations Article 115 so as to include the ISO 3166 country code for each UPU member, and to also include the country code applicable to the entity responsible for the operation of postal services in territories represented by UPU members,
the International Bureau, in liaison with the POC, to:
-- coordinate with members any modifications necessary to the list of existing IMPC codes to comply with increased transparency and visibility;
-- coordinate with relevant POC groups in drawing up a plan and a timeline that will provide parties adequate opportunity to make any preparations, if needed, to their systems for these modified IMPC codes to become effective by no later than 2015.
Reasons. – International mail processing centres (IMPCs) serve a vital function of identifying offices of exchange within the international postal network. Every country has at least one IMPC for exchanging mail with the rest of the world. International mail processing centres are operated by UPU designated operators and others for various purposes in support of social, commercial, diplomatic, scientific, military, and possibly other operations, in the increasingly complex postal environment. The need for clear and direct identification of parties authorizing and responsible for IMPCs is increasingly important to ensure that all fully understand who they are working with and relying upon.
The current IMPC code was designed before the advent of extra-territorial offices of exchange, and consequently the IMPC code design no longer meets the above-mentioned need for transparency and visibility. In the past, all mail sent from an office of exchange within a country was understood to be dispatched by the designated operator of that country. Today, we have situations where mail dispatched from a city might have been sent from another entity with no obvious connection to the location of dispatch. (For example, mail from USMIAG labeled "MIAMI USA", is actually being sent by an operator based in the Netherlands).
Supported by. –
Proposal of a General Nature
U.S. Proposal 3
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Enhanced information regarding transit policy, procedures and charges
the provisions regarding transit policy, procedures and charges in the Letter Post Regulations and Parcel Post Regulations, in particular the requirements in RL 261 and RL 262 regarding publication of compendia, manuals, tables, and documents to assist member countries in the implementation of these provisions,
of the existing publications related to transit policy and procedures and charges, such as the Statistics and Accounting Guide, the List of Airmail Distances, the Transit Manual, the CN 68 General List of Airmail Services, the CP 81 and CP 82 tables,
Taking into account
that while accounting procedures for letter post and parcel post transit differ in places, it would be beneficial to harmonize these procedures as much as possible,
the Postal Operations Council, in conjunction with the International Bureau, to:
-- review the relevant provisions in the Acts to ensure uniformity and clarity of transit-related terms;
-- review the instructions for producing tables CP 81 and CP 82 to promote greater uniformity in their preparation by the member countries and ensure that these tables clearly reflect closed transit charges and missent rates;
-- enhance the Statistics and Accounting Guide to provide additional examples of parcel post accounting procedures and more detailed information and examples on the policies and procedures involved in the preparation of CP 81 and CP 82 tables, including parcels in transit à découvert and missent items;
-- review developments associated with handling costs of mail in transit, including parcels in transit à découvert and missent items, and consider how they might be incorporated in informational materials and forms provided to designated operators for guidance in settlement;
-- develop a web-based interface on the UPU website that would allow designated operators to quickly access and update transport information, drawing from the information and procedures in the Statistics and Accounting Guide, the List of Airmail Distances, the Transit Manual, the CN 68 General List of Airmail Services, the CP 81 and CP 82 tables, and other UPU documentation related to the provision of transit services.
Reasons. – Work is being undertaken by several groups in the Postal Operations Council on issues associated with open (à découvert) and closed transit, including rates, handling costs, bonuses for transmission of transit codes, missents, items returned to sender, and other matters. There are changes proposed to these matters where designated operators currently do not share mutual understandings. (For example, there is already a great deal of variance in how designated operators prepare CP 81 and CP 82 forms, and this could worsen as new rules and policies come into effect.)
Designated operators would benefit from efforts to improve information available on the policies, procedures, and accounting involved in transit, including instructions and examples for standardized preparation of the CP 81 and CP 82 tables, and in making this information available in a centralized, password-protected database.
Access to clear and explanatory information could promote improved mutual understanding on the policies, procedures, charges, and settlement methods associated with conveyance operations and transit services that play an integral part of the international exchange of mails. It would be beneficial to make greater use of Internet technology to centralize the extensive information regarding transport and transit accounting contained in these UPU publications, so as to allow designated operators easier updating and retrieval of this information.
Supported by. –