UNICEF, Beware, Dangerous Shoals Ahead


UNICEF, Beware, Dangerous Shoals Ahead

August 30, 1983 27 min read Download Report
Roger A.

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287 August 30, 1983 UNICEF, BE WA RE--DA NGERQUS SHOALS A HEAD INTRODUCTION UNICEF is widely admired as one of the most successful United Nations programs. Fund-raising efforts for UNICEF attract the sympathy and support of private cit izens, government officials nongovernmental organizations, and private corporations throughout the world. Best known, perhaps, are the UNICEF greeting cards and the annual Halloween "Trick or Treat for UNICEFtt drives.

Officials within U.N. specialized ag encies, other voluntary programs and national missions describe UNICEF as having one of the most enviablett missions of any U.N. program the world's children through better health and nutrition, support for cleaner water and improved sanitation, and educa tional and social services for children and mothers in developing countries.

These tasks UNICEF has performed capably and professionally for almost four decades, The United States and its citizens have been the strongest supporters of UNICEF efforts, provi ding $73-1 million or 19 percent of UNICEF's total 1982 income of $378 million in general resource, specific purpose, and nongovernment contributions.

Since 1945, Americans have given approximately $800 million in both government and nongovernment contrib utions however, and the funds raised by these and other efforts at times support activities that are not only missing from the original NICEF mandate but, in many cases, may hinder the attainment of its ambitious and worthwhile goals. Some of the changes t aking place within UNICEF have been evolving over several years, while others are much more recent Indeed, the UNICEF staff is devoted to improving the lot of UNICEF is much more than greeting cards and Trick-or-Treaters With the retirement of the former U NICEF director, Henry Labouisse in 1981 and the appointment of the current director 2 Dr. James Grant, the image of UNICEF has changed from one of charity and "aid- f or-children" to one of If advocate- for-children an image underlying a new activism at U N ICEF headquarters and regional offices. When Dr. Grant assumed the helm at UNICEF, he vowed to make UNICEF more aggressive and productive, but redirect- ing UNICEF's course toward advocacy for children's rights and health may prove less than effective in d elivering the basic improvements needed by the some 1.3 billion children in the developing world It means that UNICEF has begun to steer a course toward the dan- gerous shoals of political rhetoric and ideology upon which many U.N. specialized agencies al r eady have foundered. Instead of con- centrating on the well-being of infants and children in developing countries, where some 40,000 children die each day,l UNICEF has begun diverting its time, energy, and financial resources to those activities and agend a typical of the now highly politicized United Nations. Examples 1) UNICEF is becoming increasingly active on the issue of disarmament. It decries the enormous sums spent on armaments relative to the smaller sums spent on child nutrition and health An impo r tant theme of UNICEF's "Development Education Kits" is called "Peace Education.Il Not only does this ignore the enormous sums s ent on armaments in the developing countries in recent years,g particularly among those who are members of the UNICEF Executive Board, but it diverts the valuable attention of the Board from its primary focus. The tendency to shift the focus of the Executive Board to issues unrelated to the UNICEF mandate has been relatively well controlled--thus far--yet there are indications tha t the pressures are mounting and the rhetoric may become more strident in future UNICEF meetings. Reduction of the vast military arsenals throughout the world certainly deserves widespread support, but it is not a task that UNICEF should undertake 2) Membe r s of the UNICEF Executive Board have advocated estab- lishment of the so-called New International Economic Order as a foundation for Ifmore rapid socio-economic development in the developing countries.Il They see this as a prerequisite for improv- ing the health and nutrition of the world's ~hildren although many economic experts warn that the New International Economic Order will impede development and thus undermine the health and welfare of children. Rather than devote its resources to such a strategy, U NICEF should be more directly applying its technical expertise to the real problems of women and children in developing countries James P. Grant, Executive Director of UNICEF, ThL State of The World's Children 1982-83 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 198 2), p. 1.

Armaments expenditures in developing countries in 1979 have been estimated to be $118.7-billion, representing an 8 percent increase over 1978.

John Buckman, "The U.N. and Disarmament: The Second Special Session,"

Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 186, May 16, 1982, pp. 1-2.

United Nations, Economic and Social Council, UNICEF Executive Board Summary Record of the 567th Meeting, May 10, 1982, E/ICEF/SR.567, p. 2 See: '3 3) UNICEF has strayed from its primary path by collaborating with the Worl d Health Organization (WHO a specialized agency of This makes UNICEF a quasi-international the U.N in monitoring the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes. regulatory agency, a function not authorized by the 1946 resolution that estab l ished the Charter for UNICEF.4 4) UNICEF provides administrative and financial support to several U.N. nongovernmental organizations (NGOs which purport edly further consumer causes, but are inherently biased against the free enterprise system. Such suppo r t elevates the status of some NGOs at the U.N. above the merely consultative role that they are intended to play. It is doubtful that U.N. agencies such as UNICEF should provide financial and technical means for NGOs to pursue their particular objectives. After all, funding for U.N agencies comes from member states to execute an approved program not for outside NGOs whose activities and agenda the U.N. donor member states may not endorse blems for those both within the organization and within the U.N. who wish to maintain a technical, apolitical direction to UNICEF programs. In 1982, the membership of the UNICEF Executive Board was enlarged from 30 members to

41. Not only is the number of Board members larger than it was for UNICEF's first 36 years but the nature of the Board has changed as well the Board had consisted of fifteen developed and fifteen develop ing nations. In 1982, the General Assembly voted the increase in the number of countries on the Board and the new composition, to include nine Africa n states, nine Asian states, six Latin American states, four East European states, and twelve West European and other states. The forty-first seat rotates among these regional groups annually, with African, Latin American, and Asian states respectively hol d ing that seat through 1984 Recent changes in the membership of UNICEF may also pose pro Through 1981 These changes mean that 29 of 41 Executive Board members represent either the developing nations in the so-called Group of 77 or the Soviet Union and its allies. This creates a majority on the Board who favor the ideology of the so-called New Interna tional Economic Order, and oppose free market approaches to develop ment broblems.

It is also likely that the expansion of the Board will dean decisions are mo re difficult to make and consensus more difficult to reach. While it may be true, as many U.S. observers maintadn, that UNICEF has not yet been Ithampered by the disruptive political rhetoric that marks the specialized agencies, UNICEF may find the Ifchan n el markings" much more difficult to follow in the years ahead begun steering does not appear to be as steady or legitimate as the course it was originally designated to navigate The direction that the organization already has General Assembly Resolution 5 7 (I Establishment of an International Children's Emergency Fund 11 December 1946.

Stephen S. Fenichell Suffer the Little Children," Worldview, Volume 26 Number 7 (July 1983 p. 161 4 EARLY UNICEF ACTIVITIES General Assembly Resolution 57( I) created the U. N. Interna tional Children's Emergency Fund in December 1946 to provide emer gency relief and rehabilitation to children who were victims of World War 11 financed by voluntary contributions of qovernments and individuals and the residual assets of the U.N . Relief and Rehabilitation Administration UNRRA which had provided relief to European chil- dren immediately after the War and which was being phased out The Resolution provided that UNICEF was to be At the peak of UNICEF operations in Europe between 1946 and 1948, some six million children were receiving a daily supplemental meal through 50,000 centers in twelve countries. million children were vaccinated against tuberculosis, and various other types of health programs were supported as well. Europe, UNIC E F delivered aid for health and child feeding-first in China in 1948 and then in other Asian countries, In 1949 UNICEF began extending aid, mainly for anti-tuberculosis vaccina tions to countries in the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa. Aid to Latin A merica for child nutrition and health projects also began in 1949.6 the basic needs of children in developing countries. By 1953, 62 percent of UNICEF program allocations were for projects in Asia 17 percent in Latin America, 5 percent in Africa, and only 4 per- cent in Europe make UNICEF permanent (Resolution 802(VIII reaffirming the broader terms of reference that it had established in 19

50. The words f!Internationalff and lfEmergencyll were dropped from the name, and the organization became known as the Wnited Nations Children's Fund# although the acronym UNICEF was retained.

In 1976, the General Assembly proclaimed 1979 as the Inter national Year of the Child (IYC and gave UNICEF the responsibi lity of coordinating activities of all the countries of IYC was to create a permanent high-level concern for children on the part of the various nations! governments and populations.

Another goal was to foster worldwide recognition that programs for children should be an integral part of each country's economic and social plan. In 1979, General Assembly Resolution 34/4 desig- nated UNIC EF as the lead agency of the U.N. System responsible for coordinating the follow-up actiyities for the International Year of the Child. ing the governments of developing and industrialized countries in the needs and problems of children throughout the wor ld.

7. Yet it More than eight Outside In 1950, UNICEF began to turn even more toward fulfilling In October 1953, the General Assembly voted to r I One goal UNICEF was also given responsibility for educat U.N. Economic and Social Council, UNICEF, An Overvie w of UNICEF's Policies Organization and Working Methods, E/ICEF/670/Rev. 2 (30 March 19831, p. 1.

U. S. Congress, House Appropriations Committee, Survey and Investigations Staff, A Report to the Committee on the Selected Organizations and Programs of the United Nations, March 1983, p. 43 5 was also in 1979 that UNICEF funds were believed to have been diverted to the African National Congress (ANC) for the support of terrorist raids into Zimbabwe-Rhodesia and South Africa. The strong evidence of this raise d the question of UNICEF's ability to ensure that its assistance,is restricted to humanitarian services alone and that the organization's activities remain above and out side of politics.

UNICEF AID TO KAMPUCHEA The year 1979 also marked the beginning of U NICEF's role as the lead agency for the U.N. in Kampuchean (Cambodian) emergency operations. Since August that year, UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross, in cooperation with the U.N. World Food Program, have been providing Kampuchea wi th humanitarian aid particularly food and medical supplies. while UNICEF will spend close to $4.25 million for general resources in Kampuchea in 1983 the level of UNICEF involvement in that country is decreasing.

This is important, for it was feared that U NICEF1s role in Kampu chea could bestow legitimacy to Vietnam's puppet regime in Phnom Pehn. In an attempt to allay these fears, UNICEF has assured the U.S., for example, that no expenditures will be made in Kampuchea for major capital items. In addition, UNICEF's program there is subject to annual review by the Executive Board, and UNICEF has placed only temporary project personnel in Phnom Penh While accepting the need for humanitarian assistance, the U.S. government rightly maintains that educational as s istance is not an appropriate use of UNICEF resources because the Vietnamese imposed regime probably will use Kampuchean schools for indoctri nation purposes. U.S. suspicions regarding such programs have mounted since it recently was discovered that schoo l s in refugee camps in Lebanon, administered by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency UNRWA were used for military training and indoctrination of terrorists of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).9 agency in the Kampuchea Emergency Program, UNICEF fundi n g for education programs was $2.2 million, or approximately 8 percent of the total assistance package from UNICEF of time, UNICEF spent only slightly more on health programs in Kampuchea 3.5 million Under circumstances in which hundreds of thousands of Ca m bodians have been displaced and thousands killed during the Vietnamese invasion, beginning in 1979,f0 UNICEF funds Between January and December 1981, when UNICEF was the lead In that same period 8 9 10 UNICEF, Position Paper on UNICEF's Proposed Program f or Kampuchea, Agenda Committee Item 4 (e), Program Committee, May 9-20, 1983, UNEC D-169 Add 3/1, p. 2.

The United Nations Chronicle (New Yorb, The United Nations, December 1982 p. 94.

Recent estimates indicate that since 1979, at least 300,000 Cambodians have fled their own country and have crossed the Thai-Cambodian border entering Thailand as refugees to be women and children.

States Catholic Conference At least 50 percent of these are estimated Source: Migration and Refugee Services, United 6 might ha ve been more prudently spent on health and shelter aid, rather than education programs that could be employed to propagan- dize against the Kampuchea' Program's largest contributor--the U.S UNICEF's NEW PRIORITIES In March 1983, UNICEF's Executive Board r e leased its Medium sets out UNICEF work within the framework of relevant global objectives adopted by the international community to reduce infant and young child mortality and improve child development through primary health care, clean water, sanitation, limitation of severe malnutrition, universal primary education, abolition of widespread illiteracy and improvement of the situation of women.ll UNICEF is also described in the Plan as seeking "to cooperate with countries in their national reviews of polic ies, programs, and services affecting children in the national development effort."

Within the framework of this plan, Executive Director of UNICEF James Grant has proposed measures that, he claims, will bring about a revolution in child health. A serious commitment to this revo lution, Grant maintains, could yet reaccelerate progress for the world's children, slow down the rate of population growth, and reduce child malnutrition and child deaths by at least half before the end of the 199.0 Grant demonstra t es how four specific opportunities--oral rehydration therapy, universal child immuniza tion, the, promotion of breastfeeding, and the mass use of child growth charts--provide "low-cost, low-risk, low-resistance, peoples' health actions which do not depend on the economic and political changes which are necessary in the longer term if poverty itself is to be eradicated.Itl3 Term Plan for 1982-19

86. This plan, the Executive Board explains To these, Grant adds the advantages of "Family Spacingf1--that is, th e spacing out of births which can Ifshorten the time-lag between falling birth rates and falling death-rates"--and IIFood Supplementation,Il providing food subsidies for those who do not have the means to earn enough to buy the right amount of food in the !!vital years." Together, these six measures (Growth Charts Oral Rehydration, Breastfeeding, Immunizations, FoEd Supplementa- tion, and Family Spacing) describe the UNICEF acronym GOBI-FF, which GranE has been attempting to promote as the potential, low c o st solution to reducing the 40,000 daily child deaths in the developing world. support of the infant formula and pharmaceutical industry.for Grant also is attempting to obtain the active l1 l2 Grant, op. cit p. 2 l3 Grant, op:cit p. 6 U.S. Economic and So c ial Council, UNICEF, Medium-Term Plan for the Period 1982-1986 (New York, UNICEF, 22 March 1983), E/ICEF/699, p. 6.e I 7 tegy package1' for dealing with infant mortality and morbidity in developing countries, the components of the program are not new and have been employed extensively .for many years in several developing countries. One of the previously most common programs throughout the developing world is.the use of .growth charts.

Growth charts comprise individual records of a child's weight over a pe riod of 36 months. The charts are kept either with the child, and maintained by the mother, or in a central health clinic at the village or community level. They are intended, Dr. Grant maintains, to serve "as a stimulus and guide to the proper feeding of the pre-school UNICEF intends the growth charts to be used in such a way that Itregular monthly weighing, and the enter- ing up of the results by the mother herself, can make malnutrition 'visible' to the one person who cares most and can do most about im p roving the child's diet. 1115 marketing the oral rehydration packets in developing countries. The strains in the recent past relationship between UNICEF and several of these companies, particularly in the issue of the im- plementation of the World Health O rganizationls Infant Formula Marketing Code, may make future cooperation difficult I While the use of growth charts and other components of the GOBI-FF program are, as several experts in the field of infant health and nutrition maintain, important and hel pful, the problem in most developing countries lies in their implementation.

In many instances in these countries, data that are necessary to improve infant health are often improperly logged, examined, ad- ministered, and maintained. Most developing count ries, particu larly the poorest ones, do not have the trained personnel to main- tain the thousands of records needed to monitor infant growth, proper nutrition, and immunizations. Related experiences with growth charts that are maintained and updated by t he mother, in stead of at the local clinic, have all too often produced mainly incomplete or misplaced charts a struggle with the World Health Organization for responsibility for health programs in the Third World. Several senior staff members of WHO, as w ell as its director, reportedly have been annoyed with the publicity that UNICEF has received for the recent UNICEF proposals for reducing infant mortality and morbidity in the GOBI-FF Program. a health organization and to ensure integration of its progra ms with those already established in developing countries by WHO.

The U.S. Congre:-s should seek further information on the extent of UNICEF-WHO cooperation and potential confrontation in the health At an administrative level, UNICEF appears to be involved in UNICEF may be forced to alter its image as l4 Grant, op. cit p. 4.

Ibid 8 field, and should be particularly wary of redundancies in the programs of the two organizations It is too early to assess whether UNICEF's GOBI-FF Program will succeed. Certainly, anything that offers hope in reducing infant and child mortalit y and morbidity in developing countries is welcome, particularly if the program promises improvement at relatively little expense tion programs in developing countries for many years, however express some skepticism of UNICEF's claims of advances in healt h improvement. Not only the use of growth charts, but also a llcam paign to halt and reverse the disastrous trend from breast to bottlefeeding,Il seem less well substantiated than UNICEF admits Many experts who have worked in nutri The UNICEF 'GOBI-FF Prog r am does appear to offer some hope in at least partially reversing the trends in infant mortality and morbidity in the developing countries and should therefore receive U.S. support. The extent of this support, however, should be determined after the progr am has been tested in those countries where children suffer most severely from malnutrition and various diarrheal diseases.

The Expansion of UNICEF's Roles UNICEF, is a subsidiary of the General Assembly but maintains its own governing body from its own resources, derived from voluntary contribJtions.

The work of UNICEF is reviewed annually by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the General Assembly. Its financial report accounts, and the report of the Board of Auditors are submitted to the Genera l Assembly and are reviewed by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions and by the Fifth Commit- tee.16 Its staff and facilities are financed UNICEF's Executive Board has been able t0.maintai.n some in dependence from the General A s sembly and ECOSOC As such, UNICEF programs and agenda have not succumbed completely to the anti Western, anti-free market rhetoric and action that have character ized the main U.N. bodies since the mid-1970s. Nevertheless, some of this rhetoric has been s e eping into the programs and agenda of UNICEF and its Executive Board. Examples of this "creeping politi cizationl' are found in the discussion of disarmament and the world's children and the New International Economic Ordejc at recent meet ings of the Exe c utive Board of UNICEF, in the expansion of UNICEF's role to that of a quasi-regulatory agency in monitoring various aspects of the World Health Organization's code,for the Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes, sqd in UNICEF's handling of various internati o nal aid programs tL-oughout the developing world E/ICEF/670/Rev.2, 30 March 1983, op. cit p. 3. '9 UNICEF and Disarmament On several occasions during the past two years, UNICEF Execu tive Board members have used the UNICEF platform to warn against the dan g ers of a 'InewlI arms race or to ask UNICEF to send a message calling for "new effective disarmament measures in the interests of the children of the to the General Assembly's Second Special Session on Disarmament. While disarmament is a critically import a nt matter, it is unlikely that UNICEF's Executive Board has the technical expertise to contribute usefully to a discussion of it. A continuing discussion of this'issue at the Executive Board meetings and the publication of UNICEF's An Approach to Peace Ed u cation,lIlg reflect the kind of politicization that has crippled such specialized agencies as the U.N. Educational, Scien tific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Tele communications Union (ITU), and the International Labor Organiza tio n (ILO Inside and outside the U.N., there are'numerous forums for addressing the issues of arms and disarmament; UNICEF is not one of them, nor should it be. Consideration of this issue diverts UNICEF from its assigned work--improving the health and nutrit ion of children in the developing world.

UNICEF and the New International Economic Order A summary of the 567th UNICEF Executive Board meeting in May 1982 reveals how delegates to the UNICEF Executive Board have begun using the Board to support the ideals of the NIEO and to make the connection--not supported by evidence-of NIEOIs importance to the world!s children. The chairman of the Executive Board, Dragaur Mateljcek of Yugoslavia, spoke of the concern of developing coun tries for the IJinjustice inheren t in current international economic relations 1119 The strengthening of world peace and the establishment of a new international order were the only possible foundations for more rapid socio-economic development in developing countries, which was itself a p rerequisite for improving the situation of their children.20 The "new international order" of which the Executive Board chairman spoke is the New International Economic Order, formally adopted by the Sixth Special Session of the General Assembly in April 1 974, and used as the basis for ,a wide range of initiatives within the U.N. These initiatives include the United Nations Law l7 Address by Mr. Simai (Hungary) at 569th meetin& of UNICEF Executive Board May 13 1982 UNICEF, New York, E/ICEF/SR.569, p. 2 sev erely rritized later by the American delegate, Mrs Benton UNICEF's Development Education Kit, No. 6 An Approach to Peace Education."

Remarks of Chairman of the Executive Board at the 567th meeting of the This speech was l8 l9 UNICEF Executive Board, May 10 , 1982, E/ICEF/SR.567, p. 2 2o Ibid 10 of the Sea Convention and the Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celes.tia1 Bodies. Both have been rejected by the U.S. Though NIEO has been presented as. simply a kind of recompense f o r the West's alleged exploitation of the developing world's resources, its real thrust, according to Peter Bauer, Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, and John OfSullivan of the London Daily Telegraph, is the impli- cation that 'lever y one everywhere should be entitled to a substan tial income by virtue of being alive, regardless of economic per- formance."*l "Correcting inequalities and redressing existing injustices" translates into a massive worldwide redistribution of wealth.22 This means a mandatory transfer of goods, resources, and technology from the industrial to the developing nations without compensation.

There is not a shred of evidence, moreover, that the NIEO's policies will quicken economic development or even--as is crucia l- ly relevant for UNICEF--improve the health nutrition, and general well-being of the 1.3 billion children in the 112 countries where UNICEF operates. The NIEO plainly seems designed to expand the size and enhance the wealth of Third World bureaucrats at the expense of improvements in the "state of the world's children In an interview with the Heritage Foundation, UNICEF Executive Director James Grant forcefully argued that UNICEF, alone among programs and agencies of the U.N has avoided the politicizatio n that hampers such organizations as UNESCO and the World Health Organization. Yet he admitted that the directors of UNICEF had a responsibility to support the goals and objectives of the U.N. General Assembly, including the New International Economic Orde r and could not divorce themselves from those objectives. Ironical ly, however, UNICEF's delivery of its vital services to the world's children depends on how much UNICEF does divorce itself from the NIEO and the rest of the highly politicized agenda of th e U.N.Is radicalized majority.

UNICEF As Regulator Nowhere have the activities of UNICEF appeared more.remote from the guidelines of its original mandate than in its increasing participation in monitoring various U.N. codes, particularly the World Health O rganization's International Code for the Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes, more commonly known as the Infant Formula Code. at a series of WHO/UNICEF conferences on infant and child feeding, beginning in Geneva in 1979--two years before the Code was vo t ed upon in the World Health Assembly. Even before this, WDand UNICEF had a signkficant role in drafting.the Code 21 22 Peter Bauer and John O'Sullivan, "Foreign Aid for What 66, No. 5 (December 1978 pp. 41-48 William Scully, "The Brandt Commission: Deludi n g the Third World," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 182, April 30, 1982, p. 8 Commentary, Vol. 11 UNICEF joined forces at Alma Ata in the Soviet Union in 1978 to sponsor a conference on primary health care tee on Health Policy (JCHP), consisting of r epresentatives of the Executive Boards of UNICEF and WHO, meets periodically to review progress of joint activities, including the Infant Formula Code.

The WHO/ UNICEF Committee can also recommend changes in UNICEF programs to the latter's Executive Board. 23 A UNICEF/WHO Commit Of the many arguments for and against the Infant Formula Code,24 several relate specifically to UNICEF's involvement in monitoring the Code. These are tric organizations in the industrialized world, including the Ameri can Academy o f Pediatrics, have supported the Code's aim to promote breastfeeding and to ensure the proper use of breast-milk substi tutes through adequate information and appropriate marketing and distribution. They. criticize the WHO Code, however, for concen trating primarily on the regulation of marketing practices of formula manufacturers to the exclusion of other aspects of the problem about the social, economic, and motivational factors involved in the use of infant formula products and in breastfeeding in develo p ing countries.

In the recently published UNICEF report on The State of the World's Children, Director Grant places full blame for the alleged decline in breastfeeding in developing countries on the multina tional infant formula manufacturers. As Grant se es it, those manu facturers 1. The narrow focus of the Code. Some of the leading pedia Neither UNICEF nor WHO has provided adequate information looked outward from the stagnating markets of the industrialized countries in the 1960s and 1970s and saw the p o tential of increasing sales among the large and rising infant populations of the developing world. And to a mother whose confidence may already be low in the face of more 'scientific' ideas and more 'modern' products imported from other cultures, even the most innocent promotions can create the anxiety which is one of the major causes for breastfeedings decline.

Grht here ignores other evidence and reasons for the changes in breastfeeding habits in the developing countries 23 24 E/ICEF/670/Rev.2, op. cit p . 2 Two cogent articles on the Infant Formula Code may be found in Carol Adelman Infant Formula, Science, and Politics Policy Review (Washington D.C The Heritage Foundation, Number 23, Winter 1983 pp. 107-126; and in Fred D. Miller, Jr Out of the Mouths o f Babes versy, Studies in Social Philosophy and Policy No. 3 (Bowling Green Ohio Bowling Green State University, Social Philosophy Center, 1983 Grant, op. cit p. 4 The Infant Formula Contro 25 12 2. The need for guidelines The majority of infant formula co m panies believe that there is a need for guidelines governing the promotion of infant formula in developing countries. These firms have written their own industry codes and regulations which, in fact, predate the WHO code. Yet UNICEF, perhaps for political reasons seems determined to castigate the industry 1983, for example, Grant wrote to Nestl6, one of the largest pro- ducers of infant formula, to express serious misgivings on Nestle's inte retations of ''significant aspects o,f the Infant Formula Code. G r ant here ignores the fact that Nestle has been making extraordinary efforts to comply with the WHO Code and established an Infant Formula Audit Commi'ssion, headed by former Secretary of State Edmund Muskie, to ensure Nestle's compliance with the code and to receive and process complaints about viola tions in countries in which.Nestl6 operates. UNICEF's criticism of Nestle's efforts seems unwarranted In April If UNICEF continues to move in this direction, it will find itself compromised by the reflexive an ti-Western rhetoric and anti free market arguments that have undermined other U.N. agencies.

UNICEF'S .FUNDING UNICEF's funding comprises voluntary contributions from both government and nongovernment sources. The latter include fund- raising campaigns by the National Committees for UNICEF, the sale of greeting cards, and individual donations. The United States has been by far the largest single contributor to UNICEF, and the U.S. Committee for UNICEF has been the most successful fund raiser of all nationa l committees. In 1982, the U.S. provided $41.5 million in general resource contributions, or 22 percent of all such contributions 13.1 million in specific resource contribu- tions (12 percent); and $18.5 million in nongovernment contribu- tio'ns (23 percen t). The total U.S. contribution was $73.1 million or 19 percent of UNICEF's 1982 income of $378 million.

In contrast, the Soviet Union, including the Ukraine and Byelorussia, contributed only $1.09 million in general resource contributions to UNICEF, with no contributions for specific re sources. This is about $730,000 less than Brazil, a major reci- pient of UNICEF funds and projects, contributed in 19

82. When queried about the Soviet shortfall, Grant maintains that he rarely misses an opportunity to seek greater contributions from the Soviets or to criticize them directly for their lack of support apparently with little effect.

While the 1984-1985 bud get proposals call for a reduction in personnel and operating costs-zero growth of professional posts 26 "UNICEF Hits Nestl6.on Infant Formula Code," The Washington Post, May 10, 1982 13 and consolidation of operations-they also x>roPose new costs and new posts, which the U.S. should exakine cakefhly. In particular the U.S. should continue.to oppose the funding of twelve national officer posts and of five new administrative offices in Africa aid and support to needy children in developing countries or to U N ICEF's relief and rehabilitation efforts throughout the develop ing world monitoring (the Infant Formula Marketing Code,.which the U.S government has opposed, and WHO'S "Essential Drug Program and the growing trend toward politicizing the UNICEF agenda, t he U.S must consider more carefully the effectiveness of UNICEF programs and the benefit to the United States of continuing to support them.

UNICEF AND N0NGOVER"TAL ORGANIZATIONS Few Americans would oppose their government's providing useful But in light o f UNICEF's increasing involvement in The UNICEF Executive Board confirms that it has developed close working relationships with Nongovernmental Organizations NGOs) whose work claims to bear on the situation of children The Board notes that NGOs provide an important channel for advocacy and in fluencing public opinion on behalf of children in develop ing and industrialized countries, and increasing public understanding of UNICEF's work both generally and in specific fields.

Same of UNICEF's involvement with NGOs has been in the area of emergency relief, in which UNICEF has worked closely with such organizations as the Committee of the Red Cross. Other work has been done for children in the developing countries, where UNICEF has worked with such organization s as CARE, Save the Children Fund CARITAS, Church World Services, and Catholic Relief Services.

Increasingly, however, UNICEF's relationships with NGOs, particu larly those which have gained !!consultative status with UNICEF,28 have been in the areas of co nsumer protection and advocacy has also channeled funds to several NGOs to provide them with the capability to indirectly monitor corporate compliance with the various codes and regulations of the U.N. and its agencies, most notably the Infant Formula Cod e UNICEF UNICEF has developed strong ties with such NGOs as Health Action International (HA1 1, Oxfam, Infant Formula Action Coalition 27 28 E/ICEF/670/Rev.Z, op. cit., p. 14.

Consultative status gives'NGOs the privilege of being seated in Executive Board and Program Committee sessions, circulating statements, and with the agreement of the Chairman of the Executive Board, making oral statements.

Such agreement" is almost always made, and the NGO "statements" that are circulated, not only in UNICEF, but in other U.N. organizations, often find their way into official U.N. documents 14 I INFACT International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), and Consumer Interpol.29 UNICEF has developed particularly strong ties to one of the largest, most active, and avowedly anti-free market NGOs with consultative status at the U.N.--the International Organization of Consumer Unions (IOCU). UNICEF's relationship with the IOCU appears to be developing into something far cozier than tlconsultative.n It is doubtful that such clo se ties with IOCU will benefit either UNICEF or the 1.3 billion children in 112 countries whom UNICEF ostensibly serves.

Led by stridently anti-Western Anwar Fazal, IOCU describes itself as an independent, nonprofit, and nonpolitical foundation, which prom otes worldwide cooperation in the comparative testing of consumer goods and services and other aspects of consumer infor mation, education, and protection.30 In reality, however, the IOCU is forging a new and radical coalition of groups that claim to work on behalf of consumers A favorite target of IOCU is the multinational corporations. The nature of UNICEF's relationship with NGOs is demonstrated in UNICEF's activities in monitoring the Infant Formula Code I In mid-1982, there were reports that UNICEF wa s working on the basis of a legal contract with the IOCU and other consumer groups in order to "hire't these activist groups to monitor corpo- rate compliance with the Infant Formula Code A formal contract for these services would have meant that UNICEF wa s paying these groups out of regular UNICEF funds.31 its mind and did not hire the IOCU and other groups to help monitor the Infant Formula Code's implementation it approved a proposal submitted by the IOCU for jointly holding seven subregional work shops on Breastfeeding and Implementation of the Infant Formula Code through 19

84. Instead of confining itself to the training of health workers for working with mothers and their infants in developing countries to improve breastfeeding habits, the IOCU has use d the workshops to espouse their anti-business, anti-free market rhetoric against the largest infant formula producers In the firsLRegiona1 Seminar on the Promotion of Breastfeeding, held in Manila from September 27 to 30, 1982, 31 participants from Altho u gh UNICEF changed 29 An NGO Coinmittee on LWICEF has been in existence for many years the International Year of the Child in 1979, the Committee began its out reach to the larger NGO community, and has eqanded its mailing list by over 300 organizations, i ncluding many of which had never before been in regular contact with UNICEF. See: UNICEF Doc., E/ICEF/6

70. Rev.2 9 Following cit., p 15. For a detai,s:d discussion of IOCU activities in the consumerist movement. 30 see Roger A. Brooks, "Multinationals: Fi rst Victim of the U.S. War on Free Enterprise," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 227, November 16, 1982, pp. 19-22.

United Nations International Business Council, Letter to Executive Members, SUBJECT: U.N Cooperation with the International Organizatio n of Consumers Unions, September 13, 1982, p. 1 31twelve countries participated 15 in seven workshops, only two of which dealt with the promotion-of breastfeeding five workshops were: Coalition Building, Monitoring Compliance with the International Code, C ode Drafting and Analysis, Code Advocacy Campaigns, and Company Campaigns tains that the NGOs have a special role to play in the protection and promotion of breastfeeding, the Code also stipulates that governments alone will have the responsibility of mon i toring the application of the Code. UNICEF should not be providing the finan cial and technical means to NGOs, such as the SOCU, to pursue their own objectives which do not serve the goal of reducing child mor tality and morbidity in the developing world i ncidentally, to serve the interests of UNICEF's largest contribu tor, the United States Thg topics of the other While the Preamble of the WHO/UNICEF Infant Formula Code main They also fail Funding for U.N. agencies comes from their member states for the p urpose of executing the approved work program. In the case of UNICEF, a voluntary agency, programs are still approved by its Executive' Board, of which the United States has always,been a member.

The U.S. Congress should investigate the role of nongovernmental organizations in the U.N. that seem to be supported indirectly by the American taxpayer.

CONCLUSION Among U.N. agencies, voluntary and specialized, UNICEF has two unique assets bers of the United Nations, as well as by private citizens and groups thr oughout the world. And it alone of U.N agencies can muster consensus among nations to improve and even reverse the poor nutrition, deficient sanitation, or dread disease afflicting many of the world's children through technical and administrative expertis e properly applied. UNICEF can do this only if the organi zation remains true to the specific humanitarian task for which it was established by the kind of anti-Western, anti-free market rhetoric and ideology that have limited and in some cases, destroyed o ther organizations within the U.N Its goals can be supported by almost all mem I It cannot do this if it becomes politicized UNICEF has sought primarily to focus the world's attention In many areas in which it is now working-in monitoring on the critical, basic needs of poor children and mothers in developing countries and to devise concrete ways of meeting those needs the WHO/UNICEF Infant Formula Code and in helping to foster a radical consumerist movemeiLL through a UNICEF-NGO network--UNICEF is violati ng the spirit and perhaps the letter of its charter.

It must not squander its resources on dubious political crusades.

To do so will only exacerbate the enormous tragedy of 40,000 daily infant and child deaths in the developing world.

The U.S. Congress should look closely and carefully at any UNICEF expenditures for purposes other'than those stated in its 16 mandate. Congress specifically should seek a detailed account of UNICEF's financial and administrative relationships with nongove r n mental organizations mation on the use of UNICEF funds for the publication of political materials and for instruction in political agenda, such as the llPeace Education Kits Diverting its limited funds for these purposes could dangerously change the UNI CEF course from the one that, in the words of its own Director, could provide Itnew hope in dark times.11 Congress also should seek detailed infor Roger A. Brooks Policy Analyst


Roger A.