Request to World Health Organization, in response to a decision made at the 73rd World Health Assembly

Request to World Health Organization (WHO), in response to a decision made at the 73rd World Health Assembly.

We urge the WHO to consider maintaining the requirement for member states to report progress on the implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant WHA resolutions every two years beyond the year 2030. This regular examination of laws and regulations throughout the world helps to protect all babies, however they are fed, from harmful marketing practices. This is particularly relevant since breastmilk substitute producers have taken advantage of the COVID 19 pandemic to increase their online presence and contact with parents through this media.

LLLI is active on every continent of the world except Antarctica. This global charity offers breastfeeding help, information and support to mothers who wish to breastfeed and to all nursing parents. Our volunteer Leaders support and help mothers and nursing parents to meet their own breastfeeding goals. We rely on the International Code to protect families from commercial pressure that causes them to stop breastfeeding before it is safe or optimal for the child or the mother, or to miss out on breastfeeding completely.

We look forward to a time when the Code will not be needed, because all countries will have integrated the measures established by the Code effectively into their legislation and the infant feeding industry will have ceased all promotion of products that replace breastfeeding. That time is not now.

‘Sunsetting’ of the International Code in 2022 will result in man-made infant deaths and infections and a long-term increase in non-communicable diseases.

We call on the WHO to reconsider this decision at the 75th World Health Assembly in 2022 and to reinstate regular reporting on the state of the International Code worldwide beyond 2030, and to continue issuing updates and clarifications in the form of biannual WHA Resolutions.