Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Universal Postal Union (UPU)

Topics Covered:

  1. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Universal Postal Union (UPU)


What to study?

For Prelims: UPU and other rules governing postal exchange.

For Mains: Pakistan’s recent actions and it’s implications.


Context: In a unilateral decision, Pakistan has stopped exchange of postal mails with India since August 27.



Other than the UPU, three agreements cover postal exchange between India and Pakistan — Exchange of Value Payable Article, 1948; Exchange of Postal Article, 1974; and International Speed Post Agreement, 1987.


Who regulates postal exchange between one country and another?

The United Nations’ Universal Postal Union (UPU) frames rules for international mail exchange, and fixes rates for international postal services.


Can one UPU member-country unilaterally stop postal exchange with another?

Under UPU rules, when a country decides to suspend exchange with a country, it must notify the operator of the other country (in India’s case, India Post) and, if possible, the duration for which services are being stopped. The UPU’s International Bureau too has to be notified.


About Universal Postal Union (UPU):

  • A specialized agency of United Nations that coordinates postal policies among member nations, in addition to worldwide postal system.
  • Established in 1874 and is second oldest international organization worldwide after International Telecommunication Union (ITU) which was established in 1865.
  • Headquartered in Berne, Switzerland.
  • Has 192 member countries.
  • It is primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players among member countries.
  • UPU has four units: the Congress, the Council of Administration, the International Bureau, and the Postal Operations Council.
  • Regulates40 lakh postal outlets worldwide.
  • India joined the UPU on July 1, 1876 and Pakistan on November 10, 1947.



  1. Helps to ensure truly universal network of up-to-date products and services.
  2. Sets rules for international mail exchanges and makes recommendations for growth in mail, financial and parcel services volumes and also to improve quality of service for customers.


Sources: Indian Express.