• The Universal Postal Union, established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874, is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to the worldwide postal system.
  • UN’s Universal Postal Union (UPU) is the second oldest international organization worldwide.
  • UPU’s headquarters are located in Bern, Switzerland.
  • With its 192 member countries, the organization fulfills an advisory, mediating, and liaison role, and provides technical assistance where needed.
  • The union sets the rules for international mail exchanges and makes recommendations to stimulate growth in mail, parcel, and financial services volumes and improve the quality of service for customers.
  • India joined the UPU in 1876.
  • The UPU contains four bodies consisting of
    • The Congress.
    • The Council of Administration (CA).
    • The Postal Operations Council (POC) and
    • The International Bureau (IB).
Universal Postal Union UPU

Member Countries

  • All United Nations member states are allowed to become members of the UPU.
  • A non-member state of the United Nations may also become a member if two-thirds of the UPU member countries approve its request.
  • The UPU currently has 192 members (190 states and two joint memberships of dependent territories groups).

Functions of UPU

  • The Universal Postal Union (UPU) was established as a body overlooking the regulation of postal exchange between countries.
    • It frames rules for international mail exchange and fixes rates for International postal services.
    • It helps to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services.
    • UPU provides recommendations for growth in mail, parcel and financial services and to improves the customer’s quality of service. 
  • It also oversees the Telematics and Express Mail Service (EMS) cooperatives.

Recent Developments

  • The Union Cabinet approved the ratification of amendments to the Constitution of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) as contained in the Eleventh Additional Protocol to the Constitution signed during the 27th Congress of the Universal Postal Union held at Abidjan 2021.
  • Significance of the Approval
    • It would enable the Department of Posts, Government of India to have the “Instrument of Ratification” signed by the Hon’ble President of India and have the same deposited with the Director General of the International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union.
      • Further, it would fulfill the obligations arising from Articles 25 and 30 of the UPU Constitution which provides for ratification of the amendments to the Constitution adopted by a Congress as soon as possible by the member countries.
      • It would resolve many long-standing discrepancies in the text and accommodate provisions for ‘acceptance or approval of the Acts in consistency with the Vienna Conventions on Law of Treaties, 1969.
        • Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, an international agreement governing treaties between states that was drafted by the International Law Commission of the United Nations and adopted on May 23, 1969, and that entered into force on January 27, 1980.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments