INSPIRE Knowledge Base


Universal Postal Union
Mission and Objectives: 
The UPU is the primary forum for cooperation between postal-sector players, and helps to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services. In this way, the organization fulfils an advisory, mediating and liaison role, and provides technical assistance where needed. It sets the rules for international mail exchanges and makes recommendations to stimulate growth in mail volumes and improve quality of service for customers. However, as a non-political organization, it does not interfere in matters that fall within the domain of national postal services. For example, Posts set their own postage rates, decide on the types and quantities of postage stamps to be issued, and manage their own postal operations and staff. By virtue of its mission to develop social, cultural and commercial communications between peoples through the efficient operation of postal services, the UPU has a leading role to play in promoting the continued revitalization of postal services.
Formal Mandate: 
UPU is a specialized agency of the United Nations, it is a non-profit, international organization with 191 country members. The Constitution of the Universal Postal Union is the fundamental Act containing the organic rules of the Union. It is a diplomatic Act, ratified by the competent authorities of each member country. Amendments to it can be made only at Congress and are recorded in an Additional Protocol, which is also subject to ratification.
Summary of main activities can be founad at:
191 country members. Full list of country members available at:

Which role(s) do you foresee for the SDIC in INSPIRE development

  • participate in the review process
  • yes
  • contribute to awareness raising and training
  • yes
  • be kept informed
  • yes
    Geographic Domain
    Societal Sector
    Postal Sector
    Specific Expertise
    Previous Experience relevant for INSPIRE development
    The UPU addressing unit provides as a product Post*Code database that contains postal addressing data sets from all UPU member countries. The structure of DB was designed initially to carry only postcode directory level of data but than it was extended to carry delivery point level. Currently, a new format that also will be compatible with UPU S42 templates and contain geo coordinates. UPU has also developed international postal addressing standards S42 and P14. The S42 international addressing standard is comprised of a generic list of address elements used in all UPU member countries and country-specific templates that tell users how to transform address elements into an accurately formatted address. In other words, a country defining their S42 template provides precise information about their address elements and formats. As templates are expressed in both human and computer readable languages they are ready to integrate in address formatting computer systems. UPU is also developing a standard on electronic exchange of address data. The work item is known as P14 and the first draft is expected in December 2008.
    Environmental application domains
    Optimalization of Delivery Services
    Primary Business
    International Mail