International Baby Food Action Network
IBFAN has been involved throughout the development of FENSA, and before that, WHO’s Guidelines and Principles for working with the NGOs and the Private Sector. FENSA evolved out of a resolution that WHO should help member states adopt appropriate engagements with private sector actors.
We support the statement by Medicus Mundi, PHM and TWN, and their analysis and concern about the extent of private funding in existing NSAs.
We are pleased that the WHO report acknowledges that an evaluation of FENSA must be carried out in 2019. We hope that this will be a thorough, public and transparent review involving conflict of interest experts and critical civil society organisations.
We have many suggestions for strengthening FENSA, but the most pressing need is a correct definition of what a Conflict of Interest is and the development of a comprehensive policy that addresses WHO’s own institutional COI.
In the absence of such a policy FENSA is no longer acting as a safeguard against undue influences but has been transformed into a framework that legitimizes and encourages undue entanglements. It is also being used as a funding opportunity to replace the missing untied funding from assessed contributions that WHO so urgently needs.
A serious evaluation could address all these problems, while preserving the helpful sections.
We reiterate our call for NSAs to wear different coloured badges, distinguishing civil society NGOs from businesses. This would greatly aid transparency.