The event, which marked the start of the three-week forum that will set the course of the UPU’s work over the next four years, brought together high-level dignitaries and delegates from the UPU’s 192 member countries.
The Congress discussions will lead to the adoption of the Istanbul World Postal Strategy.
With exponential growth of online services and a decline in traditional mail services among the main challenges facing the Post, the Congress discussions will focus on transforming postal services to meet changing customer demands and strengthening the postal network.
“Modern technology has for some time seemed a threat to the existence of the Post, but thanks to innovation in the industry, the Post is turning the situation to its advantage by diversifying its products to fit the new demands,” said UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein in his opening remarks.
“In the past we used to send messages tied to birds. In the past we used to send messages using telegraph lines. Today we can send messages in a matter of seconds. It’s important that the postal services change in line with the changing needs of our people”, said Kenan Bozgeyik, CEO of Turkey’s PTT Corporation and Chairman Designate of Congress.
Rooted in the UPU’s new vision for the postal sector, which focuses on innovation, integration and inclusion, the proposed strategy will serve as a roadmap for the UPU’s work in the 2017–2020 cycle.
It centres on three goals to guide the UPU’s future work: improving the interoperability of network infrastructure; ensuring sustainable and modern products; and fostering market and sector functioning.
Prime Minister Yildirim – also a former Minister for the Post – lauded the UPU for bringing the world’s postal decision makers together in Istanbul.
“[The UPU is] one of the most important global unions in the world. [Postal leaders] of all countries in all regions of the world come together under the auspices of the UPU, and they are shaping the sector together,” said Yildirim.
“When we reach 2020, the postal sector will have taken a new shape, thanks to the Istanbul World Postal Strategy,” he added.
The Turkish Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication, Ahmet Arslan, encouraged delegates to work closely together to deliver the value that customers seek.
“There are no borders in our modern world, and we need to ensure that we integrate our networks,” said Arslan.
During the ceremony, a new commemorative stamp commemorating the Istanbul Congress was unveiled.
The 26th Universal Postal Congress runs until 7 October 2016.