The International Code Documentation Centre (ICDC) protects breastfeeding by implementing the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Our aim is to ensure the right of mothers to make infant feeding decisions free from commercial pressures.
ICDC, a member of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), focuses on the International Code and operates from IBFAN Penang in Malaysia. We conduct Code training courses, analyse drafts of legislation and other regulatory measures designed to implement the International Code at a national level, hold the most comprehensive collection of national laws and other measures in the world, and publish Code resource materials that are used by UN agencies, national governments, policy makers, and infant feeding advocates.
Helping Governments Implement the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes
The International Code and resolutions form the basis of governments' measures to regulate the marketing of breastmilk substitutes (baby milks).We work with governments to draft and adopt laws based on the International Code, monitor the marketing practices of baby milk manufacturers, and train health workers, and breastfeeding advocates on the Code.
We provide Code advocacy and drafting training, and give legal advice to governments, infant health agencies, and NGOs. As at December 2015, we have contributed directly and indirectly to 77 countries in implementing all or many of the provisions of the International Code into national legislation.
In 2016, 40 countries have implemented most of the Code and subsequent World Health Assembly resolutions through comprehensive law. Armenia, Bolivia, Kosovo, Kuwait and Viet Nam are five recent entrants to this category since 2014. These countries introduced strong innovative laws which make good precedents for other countries in their regions. ICDC is proud to have been associated with the developments of all but one of these national measures and witnessed the trials and tribulations these countries went through to protect breastfeeding despite strong opposition from industry and forces linked to them.
Another 31 countries have implemented many but not all provisions of the Code as legally enforceable measures. 56 countries including EU Member States have given effect to only some aspects of the Code while 12 countries have implemented the entire Code as a voluntary measure or national health policy.
Monitoring and Publishing Code Violations
Despite ICDC’s success, so much work remains. Around the world, many countries still lack legal protection from marketing practices, or lack monitoring programs that ensure marketing practices comply with enacted provisions.
Unchecked, manufacturers of baby milks and food continue to violate Code provisions by marketing their products to mothers directly, or through health-care workers, with the end result being increased infant morbidity and mortality.