I want first to recognize Mr. Ghiday Gebreyohannes, Director General of Posts of Ethiopia and our host for today’s meeting of the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU); and the Post Master General of Lesotho who is the moderator for this session. I also recognize Ms. Rodah Masaviru, Secretary General of PAPU; and Mr. Edouard Dayan, Director General of the UPU, and the ambassadors, delegates, and distinguished guests present.
It is an honor for me to participate in this annual conference of the Pan-African Postal Union. This is an important year for PAPU and the Universal Postal Union. In two months’ time, delegates and postal managers from around the world will convene in Doha, where you will make decisions that will guide the work of the UPU, and the global postal sector, over the next four years.
I am Michael Battle, the U.S. Ambassador to the African Union and the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nation Economic Commission for Africa. At the PAPU meeting last July, I had the pleasure of meeting nearly all of you at an event sponsored jointly by the U.S. Embassy, Addis and the U.S. Mission to the African Union held at the U.S. Embassy just up the road from this convention center. My purpose in addressing you today is to convey to you that the U.S. Government gives the strongest possible support, at the highest levels of our government, to the candidacy of Dennis Delehanty for Deputy Director General of the UPU in the election to be held at the Doha Congress.
Dennis has B.A. from Colby College in International Affairs with an emphasis in Russian Affairs. He also has a M.A. from George Washington University in the same area of study. Dennis has over 33 years of dedicated service to the Universal Postal Union having represented the U.S. at every UPU Congress since 1979. He currently serves as the Director for Postal Affairs, Office of Global Systems in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs at the U.S. State Department. Dennis directs all U.S. Governmental relations with the Postal Services. Just a couple of weeks ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent a letter to UPU Director General Dayan formally confirming the nomination of Mr. Delehanty for UPU Deputy Director General.
Mr. Delehanty’s responsibilities at the State Department have prevented him from travelling to Addis to attend this meeting. For someone who leads a large delegation to a UPU Congress, the workload, as you know, can be tremendously heavy. Dennis is deeply committed to the PAPU and his absence today should be seen only in light of the urgency of the multiply demands on his time in Washington.
Most of you have known Mr. Delehanty for many, many years. You know that he has dedicated a long career to the betterment of postal services worldwide and to the strengthening of the UPU itself. You know that he was the driving force behind the creation of the EMS (Express Mail Service) Cooperative, and that he worked at the UPU International Bureau in Bern for seven years as the coordinator for Express Mail. You know that he served on the Board of Trustees of the UPU Quality of Service Fund for five years, and chaired several working groups with the UPU. Mr. Delehanty has also made major contributions to the development of postal services in the Western Hemisphere through his decades-long work within the Postal Union of the Americas, Spain and Portugal, and the Caribbean Postal Union. And, at Doha, Mr. Delehanty will attend his eighth UPU Congress!
For all these reasons, and many more, Mr. Delehanty has gained the respect and admiration of postal operators and regulators throughout the world. Last year, the Postmaster General of the United States, Patrick Donahoe, sent a letter to all of you expressing his unequivocal support for Mr. Delehanty’s candidacy, as did the Chair of the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission, Ms. Ruth Goldway.
It is no secret that the postal sector worldwide is facing serious challenges. Letter mail volumes are in decline. But we have successful and growing services, such as parcels and Express Mail. And now we have the introduction of digital services, which show great promise. Through the market turbulence that seems occasionally to cloud our view, we see a bright future for postal services. Dennis has a very positive outlook of the future and importance of Postal Service. He is committed to and respects the fact that effective and efficient communications is the key to getting things done in the 21st Century. He has a tremendous respect for the need to advance digital services, especially in developing countries where communication is the key to improved development.
The United States has always played a central role in the global postal sector, and we will continue to do so. We are committed to the measurement and improvement of the quality of service of international mail, and we have been fully engaged over the past decades, in every UPU Congress cycle, in the work to reach equitable compensation for the delivery of mail – known within the UPU as terminal dues. Over the past two years in particular, we have worked hard, through our chairmanship of the Postal Security Group, to ensure that the UPU would develop standards to guarantee the security of international postal shipments. You will discuss – and hopefully adopt – these security standards at the Doha Congress. And we have worked actively in the project group responsible for reform of the UPU to make sure that any restructuring of UPU bodies carefully protects the interests and needs of all member countries, large and small, industrialized and developing.
The United States is committed to Africa. The US has the largest number of diplomatic embassies on the African Continent than any other single nation. We are the leader in development on the Continent. Our commitment is evident. Our respect for and commitment to the need to support efficient and effective communication is clear.
We are also convinced the provision of efficient, universal postal services will remain a vital foundation of the economies of all the nations that you represent. To build and maintain their economies, governments must ensure that that their postal infrastructure and services are sufficiently developed to the level that their national economies require. This is especially important in Africa. Here the UPU will continue to play a crucial role.
When we speak of decision-making within the UPU, we refer mainly to the role of the member countries themselves. The International Bureau in Bern, must serve the member countries, and provide member countries with the information they need to take informed decisions. The driving force of the UPU is the member states, the postal worker, and the national and regional representatives of postal workers. The International Bureau in Bern works for the postal workers; it is the servant of postal workers internationally.
Our strong support for Mr. Delehanty’s candidacy demonstrates the commitment of our government to the UPU as an institution – the UN specialized agency responsible for postal affairs. In our view, no other organization can do what the UPU does, which is to bind the world together through postal communications of all kinds.We are convinced that the work accomplished by Mr. Delehanty within the UPU over the past 33 years has helped Africa in the improvement of Express Mail Service or EMS, in the projects adopted and managed by the Quality of Service Fund Board of Trustees in the work on Human Resources, and in many other fields.
We know that Mr. Delehanty is the right person for the job of Deputy Director General of the UPU – and I hope that you will share our absolute confidence in him.
Thank you for your attention.