ICDC update

From ICDC’s Desk in Penang

This page contains various activities and work undertaken by IBFAN-ICDC over the last few quarters.


IBFAN is one of the longest-surviving single-issue organisations, and it was founded on 12th October, 1979 after the joint meeting of WHO and UNICEF on Infant and Young Child Feeding.

IBFAN-ICDC launches all-time best-seller “Protecting Infant Health: A Health Worker’s Guide”

The interaction between health workers and pregnant women and mothers are special and delicate as
trust is placed in health workers for the professional knowledge and care they provide.

Pioneer of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes

Director of IBFAN-ICDC Annelies Allain has been at the forefront of global efforts to support and promote breastfeeding for more than 30 years.

Code Training for Malaysian Breastfeeding Peer Counsellors

From 23- 24 February 2019, ICDC’s team comprising of our Director, Annelies Allain, Legal Advisor, Yeong Joo Kean and Junior Legal Officer, Jane Tang were in Bangi, Selangor to provide training to members of the Malaysian Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Association (MBfPCA).

ICDC consultants in Timor-Leste for a second visit to promote code implementation

Subsequent to the first visit in November 2018, ICDC consultants made a second visit to Dili, Timor-Leste from 11 to 15 February.

ICDC Kicking off the New Year in Dhaka Bangladesh

Invited by IBFAN’s country group in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation (BBF), ICDC’s Legal Advisor, Yeong Joo Kean and Programme Manager, Constance Ching were in Dhaka to provide training on the implementation and monitoring of the Bangladesh BMS Act (Act No. 35 of 2013) from 20 to 22 January, 2019.


Breastfeeding rates in China are low and ever declining, the current exclusive breastfeeding rate (infants under 6 months) is at 19%, and continued breastfeeding rate is 8% (data.unicef.org).

IBFAN Asia and IBFAN-ICDC Launch Report on the Monitoring of the Code in 11 Countries of Asia

37 years after the adoption of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, baby food companies continue to pay lip service and claim to be staunch breastfeeding supporters.

ICDC consultants in Timor Leste to promote Code implementation

Invited and organised by UNICEF, ICDC consultants, Annelies Allain (Director) and Yeong Joo Kean (Legal Advsior) were in Dili, Timor Leste to promote Code implementation from 26 November to 4 December.

Release of Tigers: How a giant food corporation uses marketing tactics to undermine breastfeeding

Tigers, a movie about how a brave whistleblower took on Nestle for their unethical marketing practices that were harming the health and lives of Pakistan’s infants finally hit the screens on 21st November, 12 years after production started.

Mongolia: Leading the Way in Code Implementation in the East Asia Region

ICDC’s Legal Advisor, Yeong Joo Kean and Programme Manager, Constance Ching were in Mongolia from 22 to 26 October 2018 for a UNICEF mission to provide consultation and training to government officials on the enforcement of the Infant and Young Child Food Act (IYCF Act).

Ouagadougou training September 2018

Ellen Sokol, ICDC legal consultant, was in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from 24 -26 September to facilitate the training course on implementing the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.

ICDC returns to Myanmar

From 3 -7 September 2018, a team from ICDC comprising our Legal Advisor, Yeong Joo Kean, Programme Manager, Constance Ching and rookie Legal Officer, Jane Tang, were in Myanmar.

IBFAN-ICDC releases Fact Sheet for BFHI and the Code to celebrate August – the month of World Breastfeeding Week

The Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a programme launched by WHO and UNICEF in 1991 specifically for facilities offering maternity and newborn services.

IBFAN-ICDC releases Code Essentials 3& 4 (2nd edition) to help effective Code implementation

With the support of UNICEF East Asia & Pacific regional office, IBFAN-ICDC has recently revised its Code Essentials 3 and 4…click to read more.

Scrutinising the 2018 WHA Resolution on IYCF: How to Salvage?

The 71th World Health Assembly (21-26 May, 2018) has generated much controversy, especially around the latest infant and young child feeding resolution. Prior to the WHA, representatives from IBFAN (Baby Milk Action, INFACT Canada, and GIFA) participated in the 142nd WHO Executive Board meeting in January, and along the way provided technical support to Member States on drafting a resolution that aimed to protect optimal infant and young child feeding.

Canada paving the way for best practices to give effect to the Code

Invited by sister organisation INFACT Canada, IBFAN-ICDC consultants were in Toronto, Ontario, Canada from 14 to 16 May to conduct a Workshop on Implementing the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.

IBFAN-ICDC releases State of the Code by Country 2018

Every two years since 1986, ICDC has been publishing the State of the Code by Country (SOCC), an easy-to-view chart that tracks the status of national implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions (“the International Code”) worldwide.

IBFAN-ICDC releases Code Essentials 1 & 2 (2nd edition) to help effective Code implementation

Annotated International Code & Subsequent WHA Resolutions and Code Essentials 2: Guidelines for Policy Makers – part of a four-book series that provide clear and practical guidance based on decades of professional and advocacy experience on supporting countries on Code implementation. Click to read more……

Breastfeeding and Code monitoring: The first step in tackling double burden of malnutrition

From the 28 – 30 March 2018, ICDC’s Legal Advisor Yeong Joo Kean served as a resource person at a conference…. Panel of speakers at valedictory session From the 28 – 30 March 2018, ICDC’s Legal Advisor Yeong Joo Kean served as a resource person at a conference on Critical Public Health Consequences of Double Burden of Malnutrition and the Changing Food Environment in South and South-East Asia. India International Centre, New Delhi. Click to read more….

World Nutrition Publishes BTR 2017 Overview

An overview of IBFAN-ICDC’s “Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2017” was featured in the latest issue (Vol 8 No 2, 2017) of World Nutrition, the journal of the World Public Health Nutrition Association (WPHNA).

Happy Birthday IBFAN

On 12 October 2017, IBFAN will be 38 years old.
Created in 1979 when no-one knew what a Network was…
And we have survived and flourished by maintaining that flexible, horizontal networking structure.

IBFAN-ICDC Launches its 11th Global Monitoring Report
Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2017

Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2017 (BTR 2017) is a compilation of marketing practices from around the world that violate the International Code over the past 3 years. Collected from IBFAN’s regional and country groups and volunteers, it contains almost 800 legally-vetted entries on 28 companies from 79 countries.

Reviewing a “Pioneer-Law” which predates the Code in Papua New Guinea

Supported by UNICEF, ICDC consultants embarked on a mission to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in August to provide technical support to the National Department of Health (NDoH) on the review and revision of the Baby Feed Supplies Control Act (the Act). The Act was adopted in 1977, predating the International Code. Amended in 1984, it serves to restrict purchasing of baby feed supplies (which consist of feeding-bottles, teats, and dummies). The Act also prohibits advertising that intends to encourage bottle-feeding.

Code at the ASEAN Forum

As part of the celebration of the 50th Founding Anniversary of the ASEAN, the Department of Health (DOH) of the Philippines hosted the 2017 ASEAN Breastfeeding Forum and Hakab Na (Latch Now)! on 3 to 5 August 2017 in the City of Manila. The theme of the event was “ASEAN Ugnayan (Connection): One Community Promoting, Supporting, and Protecting Breastfeeding.”
DOH believes that human development—specific to the health of infants and young children—has to be addressed to guarantee continued progress of the ASEAN.

One Day in Bangkok

In April 2017, the National Legislative Assembly of Thailand passed the Control of Marketing of Infant and Young Child Food Act.  This Law gives effect to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent WHA resolutions and was a process that took almost 20 years to culminate. IBFAN-ICDC which started working with the Thai breastfeeding groups since the early 1980s can attest to the hard work and commitment that those involved put into the travails of law making.

Kicking Off the New Year by Building Capacity
for Code Monitoring in Philippines

From 17-19 January, IBFAN-ICDC embarked on its first capacity building assignment of year 2017 in Manila, Philippines – one of the earliest countries that adopted the International Code as their national law (Executive Order 51, commonly known as the Milk Code). The Code Monitoring Course was made possible through support from UNICEF Philippines and the coordinating efforts of Department of Health (DoH). (Click Title to Read More)

IBFAN hosted the Second World Breastfeeding
Conference in South Africa, with specific sessions on
the International Code

The Second World Breastfeeding Conference – a platform for breastfeeding advocates, governments, civil society organisations, UN agencies, research institutions, and public interest groups to collectively call for committed action, was proudly hosted by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) in December 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Regional Capacity Building for
Younger Code Advocates in India

In November 2016, ICDC conducted a Regional Training Course on Monitoring the International Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes with support and funding from our sister organisation, IBFAN Asia. The intended goal of the training was to build capacity for a ‘younger’ generation of Code monitors and advocates from selected countries in the region.

ICDC revisits the Code in Sri Lanka

With the support from the WHO Country Office, ICDC consultants were in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 27 June to 1 July to conduct a Workshop on the Monitoring and Enforcement of the Sri Lankan Code for the Promotion, Protection & Support of Breastfeeding and Marketing of Designated Products. This capacity building exercise for government officials of the Ministry of Health was an opportunity for ICDC to revisit its past work on the Code in the country.

WHA welcomes guidance on
inappropriate promotion

Six years after the initial call for advice on ending inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children, recommendations have finally been drafted and adopted. They will be helpful to all countries fighting aggressive promotion of commercial foods for babies. The Guidance brings clarity on several ambiguous areas that have been the subject of international controversy. For several years, IBFAN has been highlighting cross promotion tactics used by companies, and the aggressive marketing of growing-up milks.

IBFAN, pioneer in monitoring marketing practices
of baby food companies, highlights challenges
during launch of the first WHO/UNICEF/IBFAN
joint global report

The first WHO/UNICEF/IBFAN joint global report – Marketing of breastmilk substitutes: National implementation of the International Code Status Report 2016, for which IBFAN-ICDC provided technical support, was launched on 9 May at the Geneva Press Club. The report presents the legal status of the Code in WHO Member States including information on the few national efforts to monitor and enforce the Code through formal mechanisms

IBFAN-ICDC is pleased to announce the launch of the 2016 edition of the State of the Code by Country chart (the “Blue SOCC”)

The Blue SOCC chart is produced by ICDC periodically to track the status of Code implementation worldwide. It is an ongoing status report on national implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions (jointly referred to as “the International Code”).

The Amazing Code Race in Jakarta, Indonesia

For the first time ever, ICDC’s training incorporated an element of competition for participants. Put together at the 11th hour to spice up a planned field trip on the last day of a capacity building workshop, the inaugural “Amazing Code Race” was held in Jakarta on 28 January 2016.

Capacity Building Workshop on Conflict of Interest in London, UK

Conflict of interest (CoI) stems from a conflict between two or more conflicting or divergent interests within a person, an organization, or an institution of trust. It usually involves the conflict(s) between a fiduciary duty (e.g. for an individual or organisation responsible for public health to promote breastfeeding) and a private or secondary interest (e.g. to promote formula-feeding because of benefits received from industry).

Annotated Code & Resolutions 2016 Edition

The 3rd edition of our annotated compilation of the International Code of Breastmilk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions has just returned from the printers. This latest edition, released to coincide with the New Year, contains the full Code as well as all relevant WHA resolutions and the latest 2014 WHA decision on maternal, infant and young child nutrition.

Code Monitoring On-the-Go IBFAN-ICDC launches Smart Monitoring App & Online Forms

The new smartphone app can be downloaded on any Android device, and allows instant access to 8 interactive monitoring forms, including the “Quick and Easy” Form. Monitors can collect and report evidence of violations and unethical practices instantaneously through the smartphone app, and evidence is directly sent to IBFAN-ICDC’s database.

Code Training in Latin America

From August 31 to 2 September, ICDC and IBFAN LAC jointly organised a training course for 33 participants from 16 Latin American countries. The training, made possible with funding from UNICEF and PAHO and was held at the UNICEF Regional Office in Panama City.

IBFAN Africa and IBFAN-ICDC announce the State of the Code in Africa

IBFAN Africa and the International Code Documentation Centre, the IBFAN office that coordinates Code monitoring and advocacy for the global IBFAN network, are pleased to announce the launch of “the State of the Code in Africa”.

Launch of the Code Monitoring Kit 2015

IBFAN-ICDC launched the new Code Monitoring Kit in Panama City on 31 August, at a Regional Code Implementation Course held by ICDC and IBFAN LAC, with the support of UNICEF and PAHO.

Reaching out to breastfeeding peer counsellors and health workers in Malaysia

On 15 August 2015, ICDC’s Legal Advisor, Yeong Joo Kean, was invited as a speaker at the Malaysian Peer Counselor’s Convention for Breastfeeding and Natural Parenting 2015.

ICDC goes on Code mission to Africa

ICDC’s Legal Advisor, Yeong Joo Kean, was in Tanzania from 22 to 26 June to train government officials and NGOs on the monitoring and enforcement of their national laws. The training, made possible with the support of IBFAN Africa, took place after two years of constant contact with local IBFAN group….

World Health Assembly should Restrict the Marketing of GUMs

For over 3 decades, IBFAN has actively participated in the WHA focusing its advocacy on infant and young child health by safeguarding public health policy from corporate influence.

ICDC supports Viet Nam in Monitoring and Enforcement of its Law

ICDC consultants, with the support of UNICEF Vietnam and its country partners, were in Vietnam in April to provide a series of training to government officials in monitoring and enforcement of its new Decree on Marketing and Usage of Feeding Products for Young Children(Decree 100/2014/NDCP).

ICDC’s continuing technical support to Myanmar

Following ICDC’s first visit to Myanmar in September 2014 to train government officials and selected INGOs (see report – Taking the Law Forward in Myanmar) on the newly-launched Order of Marketing of Formulated Foods for Infants and Young Children (OMFFIYC) ICDC returned in March 2015 to follow up on the progress.