SWITZERLAND: This year the UN is marking its 75th anniversary with the UN75 initiative, which, throughout 2020 has gathered public perspectives on global challenges and ideas on how to tackle them.
The UPU has cooperated with the UN on initiatives since it officially became a specialized agency of the intergovernmental organization in 1948. And it lauds the hard work undertaken by member countries to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals as the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary
Over the past 70 or more years the UPU has worked closely with the UN to promote sustainable development worldwide in terms of digital inclusion, climate change and equality for all. The UPU has worked with several UN organizations over the years, such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
In recent years the UPU and its members have worked tirelessly on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – a set of 17 goals and 169 targets adopted by the UN in September 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The goals, which address urgent global challenges in relation to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice, serve as a roadmap for the international community to build a sustainable future for all.
Bishar A. Hussein, Director General of the UPU, said, “For 75 years, the United Nations has striven to deliver peace and security, human rights, the rule of law and development to the world. Now those pillars are contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. When taken together these 17 goals represent humanity’s best hope for a future without war, insecurity, torture, illegality and stagnation. The goals are the ultimate expression of our search for tolerance and equality. A desire keenly felt by everyone in every society across the world.”
The postal sector as a key contributor to the SDGs
The UPU, with the support of its member countries, has been actively researching and analyzing the contribution of the postal sector in achieving the SDGs by 2030. As an essential component of the global economy and with a significant presence worldwide, the postal industry can play a big role.
A number of projects have already been implemented by posts in a bid to contribute to the SDGs. For Goal One, Bangladesh Post has, for example, issued more than 11 million mobile money orders, worth US$7m, and its postal Cash Card service has built a customer base of 52,000 cardholders. These projects were part of the country’s Vision 2021 to lift millions of Bangladeshis out of poverty.
In the area of Good Health and Wellbeing (Goal 3), Japan Post Group has teamed up with IBM and Apple to provide Japanese senior citizens with iPads which come equipped with apps and analytics designed to help senior citizens manage their health and connect with their community. Japan Post Group aims to offer the service to around five million customers in Japan by the end of 2020.
Other postal programs which are helping contribute to the SDGs are the Royal Mail’s educational resource packs for teachers and schools (Goal 4: Quality Education); and BotswanaPost providing internet access in its post offices and offering communities a full range of e-services (Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure).
The UPU also has in-house programs which are developed with the SDGs in mind. For example, it’s carbon management tool – the Online Solution for Carbon Analysis and Reporting (OSCAR) – is a platform to measure, report and reduce the impact of the postal industry on the climate. This is in line with SDG 13: Climate Action. The OSCAR tool provides participating posts with an analysis of their individual greenhouse gas emissions and a detailed report of these emissions by scope, source and product, including comparisons with previous years to highlight the results of their mitigation efforts.
For Goal 4: Quality Education, the UPU’s Trainpost platform trains more than 1,500 participants each year to enable knowledge diffusion and capacity building, and has training centers in four regions around the world.
“At the Universal Postal Union, we are proud to be part of the UN family, and we pledge ourselves to continue working with our 192 member countries and the world’s postal operators to achieve the UN’s SDGs,” Hussein added.
UN75: Gathering global perspectives
To celebrate its 75th anniversary the UN launched its UN75 initiative in January of this year. The initiative’s main aim is to listen to people across the world, especially youth. Throughout 2020 UN75 gathered public perspectives on global challenges and ideas on how to tackle them. It essentially asked people around the world, “What are your hopes for your future?”
The results were presented in September 2020, at the official commemoration of the UN’s 75th anniversary, and there was one clear message: global cooperation is more vital than ever. During the commemoration world leaders adopted a declaration titled, Declaration on the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, which outlines 12 commitments to reanimate global resolve, including: to leave no one behind, protect the planet, promote peace, abide by international law, place women and girls at the center, build trust, improve digital cooperation, upgrade the UN, ensure sustainable financing, boost partnerships, work with youth, and, finally, be prepared.
UN75 is now focusing on how best to take the commitments forward. It will hold a second high-level meeting on October 26, and a final report will be published in January 2021.