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#LetThemChoose campaign at the World Health Assembly!

What is the WHA?

The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), composed by Ministry of Health of all WHO Member States. Held annually in May in Geneva, this year from 21May to 26 May, the WHA is the major annual health meeting and is attended by delegations from WHO Member States and many UN & civil society actors, but also by representatives of the private sector and scientific institutions. ACF has been able to scale up its influence over the WHO over the past 5 years. We are now well connected, particularly to health and nutrition initiatives.

What was our objective at the WHA71?

Advocacy for and dissemination of the ACF Campaign LetThemChoose :  A Pact for a Responsible Marketing of Milk Formula, to WHO member states, NGOs and other stakeholders.
Advocacy for a resolution on infant and young child feeding.

What are the key takeaways? 

We have reached out to national delegations of many member states, with focus on West and Central Africa Region (Chad, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, etc.) and South East Asia Region (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines) during general meetings and many side-events. We have registered around 280 signatures of the LetThemChoose Petition, and we expect more in the coming days as member states delegations will spread the message on national level. We have also advocated toward NGOs and platforms being part of the LetThemChoose Campaign (such as SafelyFed Canada, Save the Children UK, IBFAN, and a local NGO in Cambodia and in The Philippines). Shortly, we will organize a call to agree with common grounds, expectations and interests from this campaign.   

The resolution on infant and young child feeding we advocated for has passed. At the end of the week, after many long days of debates and negotiations, the resolution passed. We are happy to have mobilized many states to participate, but we are disappointed to have a watered-down version that does not build on previous resolutions on the same topic. In any case, this resolution contributes to strengthen our recommendation to respect the International Code on the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. 

We have co-organized an Official Side Event “Investing Millions for the Nutrition of Billions” moderated by ACF Director of Operations Isabelle Moussard-Carlsen, and in collaboration with many NGOs. The focus was on the importance of investing in nutrition, especially in breastfeeding to achieve the Universal Health Coverage. During this event, we could show a video summarizing the key findings from our case studies conducted in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso and Cameroon, as part of the Advocacy report on Abusive Marketing of Milk Formula.  

We submitted the ACF statement calling for the signature of the LetThemChoose Petition, which is available on the WHO website

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