23 Mar Statement of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) in support of WHO and UNICEF Breastfeeding Programs: Additional Clarification of the IBFAN Funding Policy
The International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) has recently agreed to partner with UNICEF and WHO in global infant and young child feeding programs, in particular the Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative led by UNICEF and the NetCode, coordinated by WHO, which is planning to pilot code monitoring tools in selected countries and for eventual global use. For both of these programmes we have known that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding UNICEF and WHO for these initiatives.
Based on a decision by its Global Council, IBFAN has joined in these initiatives as they are addressing the core of our mandate and are led by two key UN agencies in the field of infant and young child feeding.
We want to make it absolutely clear that we are NOT receiving ANY direct funding from the Bill
& Melinda Gates Foundation and reaffirm our funding policy of no funding from industries that manufacture and market products that come under the scope of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent WHA resolutions.
In addition IBFAN’s funding policy [http://ibfan.org/ibfan-‐funding-‐policy] explains why independence is so important to us, why it is necessary to exercise extreme caution in relation to other sources of funding and why IBFAN members are encouraged to consult with their Regional Coordinating Offices on funding that may cause conflict of interest.
Funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation poses many fundamental and ideological problems for IBFAN, not least its promotion of Public Private Partnerships and market-‐led approaches to development and its investments in problematic companies. IBFAN therefore maintains its policy of NO direct funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In the case of NetCode and the Breastfeeding Advocacy Initiative, IBFAN groups and members can take part in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded projects with previous consultation and under certain conditions.
Therefore when an IBFAN Logo appears on a document developed as part of these initiatives, we agree on their use in this context only, and only in support of WHO and UNICEF in their endeavor to protect, promote and support breastfeeding, not as an endorsement of the funder.
In all these situations IBFAN continues to urge WHO and UNICEF to seek other additional or better still, replacement sources of funding for NetCode and the Breastfeeding Advocacy initiative.
From the IBFAN Coordinating Council G-‐5
Arun, Betty, Ghada, Joyce and Marta (in alphabetical order) DATED: March 23, 2015