ICAO, UPU, urge national commitments and support for postal, air cargo, and express mail operators

Montréal, 1 September 2020 – The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) released a joint statement today encouraging national governments to support their designated postal operators, air cargo carriers, and express mail operators through financial aid and operational flexibility. 

“These operators constitute critical infrastructure and are important partners in combatting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, while also driving economic recovery and expansion,” underscored ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu.

Signed by Dr. Liu and the Director General of the UPU, Mr. Bishar A. Hussein, the statement also reaffirms their commitment as UN specialized agencies to foster greater international cooperation to help contain the virus and to protect the health of essential workers. 

“These personnel are keeping the world connected in terms of emergency food and many other medical and humanitarian necessities and ensuring that the world can still depend on efficient global supply chains,” Dr. Liu commented.

The joint ICAO/UPU statement highlights the recommendations and associated global roadmap of the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART), which includes the need to Ensure Essential Connectivity as one of its ten Key Principles. Importantly, this principle puts air cargo, a key contributor to the global supply chain, in clear focus. 

Since the early days of the pandemic, ICAO has been engaging with global air cargo stakeholders, including UPU, as well as other global supply chain stakeholders. This coordination has improved information sharing and is helping to foster solutions to the unique challenges faced by the various stakeholders.

“Going forward, ICAO and UPU will intensify our joint work initiated through the existing Memorandum of Understanding, and with a view to understanding how COVID-19 and geopolitical trends are affecting global supply chain evolution,” the ICAO Secretary General emphasized.

Resources for Editors

ICAO COVID-19 Platform
ICAO Council CART Report
ICAO Air Cargo

Full text: Joint ICAO/UPU statement


The International Civil Aviation Organization

and the Universal Postal Union urge continued support


The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) encourage United Nations member states to continue to support their designated postal operators, air cargo carriers and express mail operators during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and to provide support for future recovery efforts.


As a critical infrastructure in the provision of essential services, Posts require support to maintain their operations in the face of the major challenges posed by the pandemic. Posts are actively engaged in the transport by air of vital medical and humanitarian supplies, consumer goods, and e-commerce and essential items needed to fight the current pandemic, including information materials for public dissemination and COVID-19 samples and test kits to support comprehensive research into understanding this disease. The fulfilment of the international postal service mission, as well as that of air cargo carriers and express mail operators, is highly dependent on the support of member countries in recognizing the essential nature of these services, ensuring operators' financial stability and providing their workers with the flexibility required to undertake their duties.


In line with the recommendations and associated global roadmap of the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force, ICAO and the UPU are calling on member countries to facilitate the flexibility that Posts, air cargo carriers and express mail operators require in order to meet this critical demand, by assisting them with the necessary resources and working with them to understand the challenges and develop common solutions.


Through their memorandum of understanding, ICAO and the UPU maintain long-lasting and regular

coordination. Moreover, these agencies recognize that, by working with the right partners and integrating data sources and resources, the potential value of postal big data could be further enhanced as the global supply chain responds to both the pandemic and geopolitical trends.


ICAO and the UPU will step up the analysis of each other's e-commerce and traffic big data, so as to identify and report on the logistical constraints to e-commerce growth. Analyses of ICAO and UPU big data have helped to identify trends and forecast the growth of different categories of e-commerce items carried by postal authorities using air transport. These analyses and forecasts will continue to play a significant role in aligning member countries' e-commerce capacity and infrastructure plans with expected growth, thus ensuring that member countries derive maximum benefit from the additional value of e-commerce trade within their national economies, despite the pandemic.


ICAO and the UPU encourage member countries to work in tandem with their designated postal operators and air transport operators to strengthen collaboration between global supply chain stakeholders. Moreover, these agencies call on such stakeholders to work with them in improving supply chain resiliency and dependability through active participation in digitalization efforts, specifically through the development of  standards and updated guidance materials.



Bishar A. Hussein                                                                             Fang Liu

Director General                                                                               Secretary General

UPU International Bureau                                                                 ICAO

Bishar A. Hussein
Director General
UPU International Bureau

Fang Liu
Secretary General


About ICAO

A specialized agency of the United Nations, ICAO was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and guidance necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, amongst many other priorities. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 193 Member States.


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