Asian parliamentarians discuss their role in supporting children’s rights to nutrition and development
On 2nd April 2015, immediately following the IPU-132, UNICEF and Alive & Thrive co-hosted a conference on “The Role of Parliamentarians in the Fulfilment of Child’s Rights to Nutrition and Development” in collaboration with the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.
The conference gathered leaders and parliamentarians from Asian countries to discuss the important role of parliamentarians in child health and nutrition. The National Assembly’s Vice Chairman Uong Chu Luu gave an opening address and said “Strong and dedicated leadership across the South and East Asian region will help ensure investments in child nutrition and health are prioritized, and that nations have the human capital to remain competitive in today’s growing global economy.” He highlighted the role of the central agency in ensuring children’s rights, making laws, monitoring law enforcement, and gathering public opinion on policy implementation.
Parliamentarians at the conference shared successful measures to improve policies on child nutrition and growth, especially infant and young child nutrition and breastfeeding practices. This included specific discussions about how parliamentarians can support families by strengthening legislation around the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (BMS Code) and maternity protection.
One example was shared by Mr. Tran Van Hang, Director of Viet Nam’s Committee of Foreign Affairs, he said “In 2012, Viet Nam extended paid maternity leave to six months and expanded the ban of advertising of breastmilk substitutes for infants from 6 months to 24 months. These landmark decisions have helped ensure that all mothers and families have adequate support to choose the safest and most nourishing methods of feeding their children.”
Parliamentarians left the workshop with strong recommendations and solutions to improve policies supporting child nutrition and development in their countries.