ITS–The Universal Postal Union (UPU) is the second oldest international organization in the world which was established in 1874 with its headquarters in Berne, Switzerland. UPU is a specialized agency of the United Nations with 192 member countries and is the primary forum is for cooperation between postal sector players.
UPU sets the rules for international mail exchanges and makes recommendations to stimulate growth in mail, parcel and financial services volumes and improve quality of service for customers. UPU also provides an advisory, mediating and liaison role, and provides technical assistance where needed to its members.
The highest decision making organ of UPU is the Universal Postal Congress, which comprise of all of the UPU member states and it meets every five years. The day to day running of the organization is undertaken by the International Bureau or the Secretariat of UPU in Bern. It serves the member states postal administration as an organ for liaison, information, and consultation. The bureau is responsible for collecting, coordinating, and disseminating international postal service information, conducting inquiries requested by postal administration and acting as a clearing house for the settlement of certain accounts between them.
The establishment of the union can be credited to Heinrich von Stephan, who took the initiative of holding the Bern congress in October 1874, which gave birth to the union.
Born on January 7, 1831 in Stolp Pommeren, Germany into the house of a craftsman, Stephan worked at the German post office from the age of 17. In 1856, a 25-year-old Stephan wrote a monumental book titled “The History of Prussia’s Post.” In 1870, he was designated the Director General of North Germany.