The Universal Postal Union Congress (UPU) is held every five years as the supreme authority of the UPU and brings together diplomats and postal operators from member countries. The 23rd UPU Congress will be held in Romania, Bucharest. Romania is the first East European country to host this major event.
The Universal Postal Union was established in 1874 through the treaty of Bern and it was first named General Postal Union. It was in 1878 when the General Postal Union was renamed the Universal Postal Union.
As a special agency for the United Nations, the UPU fulfills and advisory, mediating and liaison role, and renders technical assistance to member states where needed. It sets rules for international mail, exchanges and makes recommendations to stimulate growth in mail volumes. The UPU's main objective is to improve the quality of international mail service and to make postal services accessible, affordable, reliable and secure for all the citizens of the world.
The South African Post Office will issue a stamp and a special commemorative envelope on 23 September 2004 to celebrate this event.
Designed by Jerry Lion, the communication and delivering function of the Post Office is expressed through the design. This is achieved by showing a person handing a letter to a postal worker, who in turn delivers it to another person. Behind the figures the UPU logo is depicted, symbolising the South African membership of the UPU.