IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


1st June, 2023 International Relations

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.


  • The Union Cabinet has approved to establish a Regional Office of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in New Delhi, India to undertake UPU’s development cooperation and technical assistance activities in the region by entering into an agreement with UPU.


  • India will provide a Field Project Expert, staff and office set up for UPU’s regional office. 
  • Projects on capacity building and trainings, improving efficiency and quality of postal services, enhancement of Postal technology, e-commerce and trade promotion etc will be prepared and implemented for the region by this office in coordination with UPU. 


  • The approval enables India to play active role at multilateral organizations in postal sector with emphasis on South-South and Triangular cooperation. 
  • The initiative would help expanding India’s diplomatic footprint and strengthen relations with other countries, specially in Asia-Pacific region and will enhance India’s presence at the global postal forums.

About 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.
  • The UPU contains four bodies consisting of the Congress, the Council of Administration (CA), the Postal Operations Council (POC) and the International Bureau (IB).
  • It also oversees the Telematics and Express Mail Service (EMS) cooperatives.
  • Each member agrees to the same terms for conducting international postal duties.
  • The UPU's headquarters are located in Bern, Switzerland.


  • Before the establishment of the UPU, every pair of countries that exchanged mail had to negotiate a postal treaty with each other.
  • Postal arrangements were complex and overlapping.
  • Negotiations for postal treaties could drag on for years.
  • The Treaty of Bern was signed on October 9, 1874, establishing what was then known as the General Postal Union.

Provisions of the treaty

  • The treaty provided that:
    • There should be a uniform flat rate to mail a letter anywhere in the world
    • Postal authorities should give equal treatment to foreign and domestic mail
    • Each country should retain all money it has collected for international postage.
    • One important result of the Treaty was that it was no longer necessary to affix postage stamps of countries that a mailpiece passed through in transit.


  • The UPU's Standards Board develops and maintains a growing number of international standards to improve the exchange of postal-related information between postal operators.
  • It also promotes the compatibility of UPU and international postal initiatives.
  • The Standards Board ensures that coherent regulations are developed in areas such as electronic data interchange (EDI), mail encoding, postal forms and meters.

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).


  • The Universal Postal Congress is the most important body of the UPU.
  • The main purpose of the quadrennial Congress is to examine proposals to amend the acts of the UPU, including the UPU Constitution, General Regulations, Convention and Postal Payment Services Agreement.
  • The Congress also serves as a forum for participating member countries to discuss a broad range of issues impacting international postal services, such as market trends, regulation and other strategic issues.
  • The first UPU Congress was held in Bern, Switzerland in 1874.
  • UPU Congresses are held every four years and delegates often receive special philatelic albums produced by member countries covering the period since the previous Congress.


Q) Which of the following statements with reference to Universal Postal Union is/are correct?

1. All United Nations member states are allowed to become members of the UPU.

2. It is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that coordinates postal policies among member nations.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Correct Answer: 3