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Innocenti Declaration

November 2020

“In 1990 the Innocenti Declaration on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding set an international agenda with ambitious targets for action. Meeting in Florence, Italy, in July of that year, government policymakers from more than 30 countries adopted the Declaration, which was later endorsed by the forty-fifth World Health Assembly and the Executive Board of UNICEF. The Innocenti Declaration reflected both the spirit of the support that was being mobilized for breastfeeding, and the recognition of the right of the infant to nutritious food enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It captured the commitment as well as the practical vision of those who gathered in Florence to launch breastfeeding onto a higher public plane.” (1).

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The Innocenti Declaration is a pivotal document supporting the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative, along with the World Health Organization’s Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes and the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. Although it was established 30 years ago, it sets goals that we continue to work toward today.

The Declaration was produced and adopted by participants at the WHO/UNICEF policymakers’ meeting held in Florance, Italy and was assessed for progress in 2005 at the 15th anniversary. Renewed commitment to breastfeeding protection, promotion, and support was made by those present, who then:

  1. Called upon governments, civil society and donors to increase efforts to implement the targets of the Innocenti Declaration and the additional targets established in 2002 within the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding.
  2. Worked to raise awareness of every child’s right to adequate nutrition, and the corresponding obligations on all sectors of society to ensure that this right is realized.
  3. Worked to promote proven strategies, interventions and tools, with special focus on new policies developed in the areas of HIV and infant feeding in emergencies, and the action needed to encourage exclusive breastfeeding. (2)

If you have not read through these documents, I would highly recommend downloading them (free of charge) from the links below. Take the time to read through them, noting that many of the same struggles you may currently have in implementing the BFHI policies and procedures have been addressed on a global level for decades! Keep working on changing the paradigms around breastfeeding! When all of our individual efforts are combined, the world is headed to the optimal recommendations put forward in these documents.

"If you love your work, you’ll be out there every day trying to do it the best you possibly can, and pretty soon everybody around will catch the passion from you – like a fever. " -- S. Walton

Kathy Parkes, MSN-Ed, RN, IBCLC, FILCA CHC

Professional Development Educator

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  1. WHO/UNICEF. (1990). Innocenti Declaration on the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding. Downloaded 10/25/20 from https://innocenti15.net/docs.htm
  2. UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre. (2005). 1990-2005. Celebrating the Innocenti Declaration on the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding. Downloaded 10/25/20 from https://innocenti15.net/inno.htm
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