TWN Info Service on Health Issues (July18/08)
17 July 2018
Third World Network

US threatened Ecuador and WHO over breastfeeding resolution

Dear friends and colleagues,

A resolution to encourage breastfeeding at the recent World Health Assembly in May this year provoked the US to threaten Ecuador and the World Health Organization (WHO) with retribution.

According to the New York Times (NYT) which reported the story, ‘the US delegation embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers’ turned on Ecuador, which had planned to introduce the resolution.

‘American officials sought to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious efforts on young children,’ wrote the NYT.

‘When that failed, they turned to threats, according to diplomats and government officials who took part in the discussions.’

The Americans threatened to ‘unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid’ if Ecuador refused to drop the resolution.

WHO was not spared either. During the negotiations, Washington threatened to cut funding for WHO, which would have affected its operations as the US provides USD845 million or some 15 percent of the organisation’s budget.

The resolution was passed when it was introduced by Russia but the US got its way when it struck out language calling for WHO support to nations trying to stop ‘inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children’ and added ‘evidence based’ to certain provisions.

Please see the detailed report in the New York Times (8 July 2018) in the link below:

With best wishes,
Third World Network