27 countries will table a Resolution on Digital marketing of baby foods at the 78th World Health Assembly

CLICK HERE for webcasts  and HERE  for documentation on WHA77

Documentation on Executive Board EB155

Check out the IBFAN WEBSITE for more

Brazil, Mexico, IBFAN and ILCA statements

Agenda  Item15.2.   Maternal, infant and young child nutrition. 

Committee B, 5th  and 6th Meeting, Thursday 30th May 2024.

Brazil (6th meeting 4.55)


 Mr. Chair,   Brazil takes the floor on behalf of a group of countries composed of [Armenia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand and Uruguay] to deliver a joint statement on sub-item 15.2 “maternal, infant and young child nutrition”. 

Science has already demonstrated that feeding practices for infants and young children have a profound effect on child survival, growth and development, with lifelong consequences for women, children, and society as a whole. Despite the proven benefits of breastfeeding, less than half of infants and young children globally are breastfed in accordance with the recommendations of WHO. 

Evidence shows the powerful influence of the marketing of breast-milk substitutes as a barrier to breastfeeding. Despite efforts to the implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1981, we are facing now an emerging challenge. 

The WHO report on the scope and impact of digital marketing strategies for promoting breast-milk substitutes noted that digital environments are fast becoming the predominant source of exposure to promotion of breast-milk substitutes globally and that digital marketing amplifies the reach and power of advertising and other forms of promotion, influencing parents to use their products. 

In 2023, the WHO prepared recommendations on the digital marketing of breast milk substitutes, which were submitted to public consultation and resulted in the publication of the Guidance on regulatory measures aimed at restricting digital marketing of breast milk substitutes. 

The idea of a resolution to regulate the digital marketing of breast milk substitutes with a view to its incorporation into the scope of the International Code was already raised during the 154th session of the Executive Board of the WHO. 

This will certainly be an important step towards guaranteeing children’s right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of nutrition and health. 

Recognizing the importance of this issue, in this 77th World Health Assembly, we would like to emphasize that we support the WHO Guidance on regulatory measures and that we intend to 

prepare, in broad consultation with Member States, a draft resolution to be tabled at the 78th World Health Assembly. We will also request an amendment to the 78th WHA agenda accordingly.  Thank you very much.

Mexico  5th Meeting of Committee B.  29.51.  

Click Here for the statement read by Simon Barquera 

Thank you, Chairman.  Mexico is concerned about the erosion of the intersectoral stewardship of governments and the drive for deregulation in crucial areas such as agriculture, the environment and health. Our commitment is to promote, protect and defend the public health system.
In the face of the obesity and chronic disease crisis, we have passed an Adequate and Sustainable Food Law, banned the importation, use and distribution of glyphosate and transgenic corn, implemented a front labeling system for ultra-processed foods, intensified the regulation of tobacco advertising, created smoke-free spaces and banned the importation of vaping and tobacco heating products.

These efforts have made us realize how difficult it is to implement policies when they affect the interests of transnational corporations that market products that are harmful to human and planetary health.
Regarding the challenge of improving exclusive breastfeeding rates in the first days of life, it has become clear in this Assembly the importance of restricting aggressive advertising and other formula marketing strategies, particularly digital advertising, which can be considered a global crisis that has generated even greater harm, especially in developing countries.

The nature of this digital advertising is inherently transnational and requires urgent collective action. We are convinced that the role of the WHO in stopping these actions is crucial. We therefore call for an early resolution to take action at global, regional and national levels and to identify an accountability mechanism for corporations that fail to comply with the recommendations on restricting the marketing of breastmilk substitutes by all means.

other Statements by Member States on the WHO website

Statements by other NGOs 

IBFAN Statements

Agenda Item: Item 17    Draft fourteenth general programme of work, 2025–2028. read by Patti Rundall

Thank you for engaging the global network IBFAN  on this important GPW. Its implementation must ensure:

The protection of breastfeeding and optimal child feeding throughout all WHO local offices – especially from misleading digital marketing  – welcome to our side event tonight!

Policy coherence with WHO in trade rules would prevent MS facing time wasting challenges. ‘Operational’ activities must not undermine WHO’s unique role in analysing global data for wise norm-setting. Streamlining of operations must not prevent the adoption of Resolutions that save children’s lives. WHO must correct its Conflict of interest policy and strengthen FENSA to safeguard its independence, integrity and trustworthiness.

WHO should ideally be100% publicly funded but till then voluntary funding must not compromise WHO’s purpose. Transparency is vital and anonymous donations forbidden.

Agenda  Item15.2.   IBFAN statement on Maternal, infant and young child nutrition.  Read by Nair Carrasco

WHO should be proud of the materials on marketing it has produced under Dr Tedros’ tenure. The guidance on digital marketing of baby feeding products is a key part of the package that will help governments lower health care costs and save lives.

IBFAN is pleased that Brazil, Mexico, Peru and many other countries will be tabling a Resolution to support the Guidance. Digital marketing is now out of control with companies paying influencers and deceptive
schemes that manipulate parents and convince them that their expensive, risky, environmentally wasteful products are essential for children’s health.

The Guidance doesn’t prevent any person buying products they need but could stop misleading marketing at source. A WHA resolution would help Member States protect optimal infant and young child feeding without fear of trade challenges.

Agenda Item: 11.7 Acceleration towards the Sustainable Development Goal targets for maternal health and child mortality. IBFAN Statement:  Read by Dr Marina Rea 

Mothers and children are the most vulnerable and hardest hit by conflicts and emergencies. A key safeguard is breastfeeding – the foundation for all 17 SDGs.

It’s the single most effective intervention in preventing deaths in children. And for mothers, it protects against breast cancer, hypertension and diabetes. Women have the right to feed their babies as they wish, but those rights cannot be fulfilled without support and protection from misleading marketing that promotes unnecessary, expensive, ultra-processed products. Member States have sovereign right and duty to adopt effective laws to protect citizens, make climate-smart decisions and prevent harmful marketing.

Agenda Item 14.1 WHO’s work in health emergencies IBFAN statement read by Dr Magdalena Whoolery

We witness in horror the worst human catastrophe in recent times with internally displaced peoples and refugees now a permanent emergency. 

Breastfeeding is a lifeline. Emergency responses should include skilled breastfeeding support, skin-to-skin, re-lactation, wet nursing & nurturing care safe spaces. The Code and multi-agency IFE tools are essential emergency preparedness and response.

Responses relying on the provision of short term Ready to use products should never be inappropriately promoted or commercially exploited and must never undermine life saving breastfeeding, indigenous complementary foods or culturally acceptable local food solutions.

WHOs operational work must not undermine its norm-setting role that must be protected with transparent sustainable funding, free from commercial influence.

IBFAN condemns the withholding of food, water and medical supplies as a weapon of war. This must never be imposed on any peoples.


Agenda Item: 15.4 Climate change, pollution and health   Read by Dr Magdalena Whoolery

Mothers and children suffer most from the climate crisis.  Weak industry friendly trade rules have undermined laws to protect breastfeeding – the most environmentally friendly way to feed young children. Corporations have damaged agriculture and biodiverse food systems and flooded the world with ultra-processed products with large greenhouse gas, carbon and micro-plastic footprint  – many promoted with greenwashing claims as the solution to the climate crisis.  Women and children must be the top priority and Member States must hold companies accountable for any harm they cause.


ILCA statements

Agenda Item 15.4 Climate change and Health delivered by Zoe Faulkner

ILCA recognises that breastmilk is the first food. Breastfeeding has low environmental impact and significant health benefits, but less than half of infants globally are breastfed as recommended. Over 2 million tons of commercial milk formula for infants and young children were sold globally in 2018, generating greenhouse gas emissions of over 14 million tons, and using at least 10 million cubic meters of water, in addition to generating huge amounts of waste in landfills. Supporting women to breastfeed will reduce formula manufacturing and sales and help mitigate climate change, reduce climate risks to food security, and improve resilience in emergencies. ILCA calls on member states to support breastfeeding as an environmental imperative and a way to improve climate protection.

Agenda item 15.2: Maternal, infant and young child nutrition Delivered by Maryse Arendt

International Lactation Consultant Association welcomes WHO’s Guidance on digital marketing of Breast Milk Substitute. WHO’s report on digital marketing showed how dominant digital marketing is; it increases sales and decreases breastfeeding; Companies use insidious methods often not recognizable as advertising; and digital marketing escapes scrutiny. To protect human milk feeding, ILCA calls on member states to incorporate the Guidance into legislation so companies can no longer circumvent the Code. We commend Brazil’s announcement to include this in a resolution in 2025. We also call on member states to accelerate progress on the global MIYCN targets and respond to the proposal for process indicators

Agenda item 11.7:  Acceleration towards the Sustainable Development Goal targets for maternal health and child mortality.  delivered by Zoe Faulkner

ILCA welcomes the Director-General’s report on Acceleration towards the Sustainable Development Goal targets for maternal health and child mortality, and notes that one of the largest gaps is in breastfeeding rates. Improving breastfeeding initiation and continuation also impacts other SDGs, including under-5 mortality, stunting, and wasting. ILCA urges Member States to provide greater investment in breastfeeding protection and support. In particular, providing evidence-based lactation education to physicians, nurses, and midwives, as well as increasing training of community health workers, and supporting development of lactation professionals, are proven steps to help reach the SDG targets. In order to create an enabling environment for breastfeeding, countries also need to implement the Code and subsequent resolutions, and include digital marketing restrictions.

Agenda items 11.1 Universal health coverage and 11.2: Prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. delivered by Katie Pereira-Kotze on behalf of ILCA

Honorable Chair, Esteemed Delegates. Thank you for giving me the floor. Research shows that near universal breastfeeding, as defined by WHO, could prevent 98 000 deaths of mothers from diabetes and hormone related cancer each year, in addition to saving 823,000 children’s lives. Breastfeeding reduces rates of hypertension, obesity, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, and cardiovascular diseases in mothers and later in adulthood in the breastfed child ILCA urges Member States to include skilled lactation care and counselling in Universal Health Coverage, and to invest in appropriate training of physicians, nurses, midwives and other health care professionals, as well as supporting the development of a skilled lactation care workforce. ILCA calls for increased investment in breastfeeding protection and support to prevent and reduce NCDs Non-Communicable Diseases. Thank you

Agenda item 13.4 Intergovernmental Negotiating Body to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, delivered by Maryse Arendt

Honorable Chair, Esteemed Delegates Thank you for the opportunity to address the 77th session of the WHA. The International Lactation Consultant Association®, ILCA® urges Member States to strengthen preparedness for future pandemics so that that pregnant and lactating women and their children are not left behind in a future pandemic or excluded from vaccinations or treatments. Maintaining access to essential healthcare services during pandemics is imperative. Tailored actions should be proactively planned at all care levels to ensure continuity for breastfeeding support and no separation between mother and baby. Pandemic-related urgencies should not overshadow essential care for women, infants, and young children or compromise decent working conditions of healthcare professionals. ILCA is ready to support Member States in the development of a resilient continuum of care for pregnant and lactating mothers and their infants and young children.

11.1 11.2 NCD and SDG ILCA    11.7 SDG mat health and mortality ILCA 13.4 pdf 15.2 MIYCN ILCA 15.4 climate change ILCA

Here are statements we made in January at EB154: Recordings and  text.

WHO 14th General Programs of Work (GPW14) IBFAN comments on GPW14.   IBFAN intervention EB154.  

WHO 13th General Programme of Work.  (GPW13)  IBFAN comments on GPW13.

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