Universal Postal Union (UPU) | IAS Target IAS Target

Universal Postal Union (UPU)

The Universal Postal Union (UPU), 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. It also oversees the Telematics and Express Mail Service (EMS) cooperatives. Each member agrees to the same terms for conducting international postal duties. The United Nationsí Universal Postal Union (UPU) frames rules for international mail exchange and fixes rates for international postal services. India joined the UPU on July 1, 1876, and Pakistan on November 10, 1947. The Universal Postal Union, in conjunction with the World Association for the Development of Philately, developed the WADP Numbering System (WNS).

Formation 9 October 1874
Headquarters Bern, Switzerland
Membership 192 members
Parent organization United Nations Economic and Social Council
The UPU contains four bodies consisting of:
  • the Congress
  • the Council of Administration (CA)
  • the Postal Operations Council (POC)
  • the International Bureau (IB)


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.
  • In a unilateral decision, Pakistan has stopped the exchange of postal mails with India since August 27. Pakistanís decision was taken without any prior notice and is in direct infringement of international norms. With no regular, direct flight connectivity between the two countries, mail was being routed through the Saudi Arabia air route. Under UPU rules, when a country decides to suspend exchange with a country, it should inform the operator of the other country and if possible, the duration for which services is being stopped. According to the three bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan, too, a prior notice has to be served before suspending services
  • The Congress serves as a forum for participating member countries to discuss various issues impacting international postal services, such as market trends, regulation, and other strategic issues. UPU Congresses are held every four years, and delegates often receive special philatelic albums produced by member countries covering the period since the former Congress.