IBFAN is once again following the proceedings of the WHA74 taking place virtually from 24 May to 1 June 2021.
This year, as part of the WHO Reform agenda WHO is now proposing to accept only grouped statements from NSAs – suggesting that this is a way to ‘enhance’ the NSA voice. We share the concerns of many other civil society members that this will stifle the voice of civil society, while increasing the voice of actors with links to industry. We continue to urge countries to increase core, untied funds for WHO so that it can act independently according to its mandate.
IBFAN has partnered WHO for over 40 years, helping with the adoption of the International Code and the 19 Resolutions that governments use to adopt legislation that will protect against predatory marketing. We all know that the Code needs to evolve – like a vaccine – if it is to tackle new strategies such digital marketing and the commercialisation of cloned breastmilk components – not imagined in 1981. That is why it is so important to ensure continued biennial reporting at the Assembly.
The Reform agenda is now threatening this healthy dynamic. Civil society is not homogenous. Forcing us to speak as one with NGOs who have very different views about corporate funding will dilute and stifle important messages.
Other threats to child health are the funding initiatives, such as the WHO Foundation and N4G, that encourage donations from businesses and associations who have no intention to follow WHA recommendations, who push ultra-processed products that falsely claim to build immunity and who add to the climate crisis. Such funding allows companies to massage their image and infiltrate policy spaces. This will have long-term impact on national laws and threatens the integrity and trust placed in WHO.
We warmly appreciate WHO’s support for the Code’s 40 year celebration last Friday and its plans for 21/22. We urge Member States to watch the recording. But before it’s too late, we urge WHO to adopt sound Conflict of Interest rules that will protect mothers and babies. Thank you.
See previous blogs:
- Alarm over WHO Foundation ‘Thank you’ to Nestlé
- Why the Nutrition for Growth (N4G) global pledging initiative is a threat to child health – how industry infiltrates the policy space
- WHO moves almost enough on the sun-setting of the Code – 10,000 support IBFAN’s call
The sessions can be watched live on 24 May – 1 June 2021. Recordings will be available in the sidebar listing.
on this link you can find the agenda, the Daily Journal that is updated every day, the statements by NSAs – some grouped together and some individual.
Agenda Item 17 WHO’s work in health emergencies and strengthening preparedness for health emergencies (due to a technical hitch we could not make this intervention)
During emergencies, babies are at greatest risk of water-related diseases – with diarrhoeal disease the second biggest killer of under-fives. Breastfeeding is resilient and provides food, care and immune support – protection from the worst of emergency conditions. Member States can protect breastfeeding and child survival by adopting the Operational Guidance for Emergency Relief Staff and strong legislation that prevents predatory marketing BEFORE and DURING crises
We know that deforestation, land-grabbing and mono-cropping add to the climate crisis and are fundamentally linked with health outcomes and emergencies. Funding initiatives such as the WHO Foundation and N4G that accept donations from companies who have no intention to follow WHA recommendations and who push harmful ultra-processed products into emergency situations with claims that they build immunity and protect against viruses, threaten the integrity and trust placed in WHO. Such schemes allow companies to pretend they have humanitarian motives. It’s time to see through these strategies and adopt sound Conflict of Interest rules and increase Assessed Contributions from Member States instead.
G2H2 is a membership-based association created in Geneva in 2016 to provide a space and enable civil society to meet, share knowledge and create initiatives to advocate for more democratic global health governance. Do explore the G2H2 website for useful and important information for civil society about WHO matters.