The International Baby Food Action Network Newsletter


UNICEF position clarified


In a letter dated 25 August, 2000, Carol Bellamy clarified the position of UNICEF regarding co-operation with the business community especially that of the baby food industry and the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly Resolutions.

  IBFAN meets with WHO

January 2000: IBFAN meets with WHO
Left to right: Dr. A Gupta, Dr. J. Tulloch, Dr. G. Clugston, R. Saadeh, Dr. P. Singh, Dr. T. Turmen, P. Rundall, A. Linnecar, Dr. F. Savage, Mr. G. Laviolle, M. Epoulou.
[Photo courtesy of IBFAN-GIFA]

"UNICEF continues to support the implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and its policy on breastfeeding remains unchanged. This policy is guided by related resolutions of the World Health Assembly and the 1990 Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding. We continue to support global, regional and country level actions to monitor and enforce Code compliance and we encourage and support governments in their efforts to implement and enforce the Code through national legislation.

Consistent with that policy, UNICEF firmly believes that companies that manufacture and market breastmilk substitutes have a corporate responsibility to ensure that their marketing practices in no way interfere with or influence a woman's decision on feeding her infant.

UNICEF also believes such companies have a responsibility to comply with the Code in all countries and in all contexts, regardless of whether countries have enacted binding legislation."

Ms. Bellamy acknowledges the significant contribution made by the business community in the lives of people in all parts of the world and says that:

"UNICEF will work with all whose corporate behavior and commercial practices are consistent with the principles of the United Nations Charter, and uphold national and international standards for the protection of children's rights, and national laws. The overarching principle for UNICEF's work with the business community is the best interest of the child established by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. These principles guide us in our decisions on whether to accept donations from the business community. For this reason, UNICEF does not accept donations from manufacturers of infant formula which violate the Code."

Ms. Bellamy's statements are encouraging and IBFAN groups will press UNICEF to extend its prohibition on donations to all manufacturers of products under the scope of the International Code.

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