Greater Focus Needed On SIDS

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Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite??

This island’s Home Affairs Minister, Adriel Brathwaite, has called on the Universal Postal Union (UPU) to pay more attention to the needs of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

Minister Brathwaite, who was addressing the 25th Universal Postal Congress on October 7, in Doha, Qatar, told attendees: "If these vulnerable states are to keep pace with the global community in a systematic and sustainable manner, their needs must be given prominence in the UPU’s economic, regulatory and development cooperation strategies."

Mr. Brathwaite focused his remarks on the fourth goal of the Doha Postal Strategy, which pertains to fostering the sustainable development of the postal sector, as he encouraged the UPU to develop a clear strategic road map that took into consideration the special needs of SIDS including their susceptibility to environmental degradation, natural disasters, exploitation of fisheries resources and land-based pollution.

The Attorney General and his delegation also put forward a proposal on behalf of countries like Barbados which are considered to have graduated to industrialised country status as a result of high Gross National Income and Postal Development indicators.??

The delegation pointed out that the island and other small states were being asked to perform at an optimum level in spite of such factors as fragile economies and susceptibility to natural disasters.

The officials requested that there be a special criterion applied to small islands and landlocked states in similar circumstances, thus taking into account their vulnerabilities rather than mandatorily entering them into the system used by the more highly developed countries.

Mr. Brathwaite said that he would like to see more developing states included in activities to build capacity, ensure special treatment for special needs and he encouraged conservation of the postal sector as it would "redound not only to the benefit of SIDS but the entire world ".

The team acknowledged that as more financial, administrative and operational issues were within the purview of the Council of Administration and Postal Operations, (two critical sub-committees of the UPU) and as they assumed more regulatory and legislative powers, their influence on the revenue-generating capability and sustainability of developing nations would become increasingly important.

To this end, they suggested that every effort be made to ensure that both national and regional interests were safeguarded by having representation during the decision-making processes of the most significant organs of the UPU.

The Universal Postal Congress is convened every four years and the UPU is the primary forum for cooperation among players in the postal sector.?? In addition to setting the rules for international mail exchanges, making recommendations to stimulate growth in mail, parcel and financial services volume and improving the quality of service for customers, the UPU plays an advisory, mediating and liaison role, while providing technical assistance where needed.??

theresa.blackman@barbados.gov.bb

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