Stockholm Symposium Report

Stockholm Symposium Report is now available

Click here to view Stockholm Symposium Report


Radisson Blu Hotel, Stockholm

Date:  26-28 September 2015

WABA-Stockholm Symposium – Contemporary solutions to an age-old dilemma: Breastfeeding and other work

Organised by World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and UNICEF HQ, New York

Stockholm Symposium

logowaba   unicef 

 View Stockholm Symposium Report


WABA and UNICEF HQ, New York are to collaborate in a symposium in order to galvanise wider and deeper commitment to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in the context of women’s work. Breastfeeding rates have been relatively stagnant over the last decade. One of the main challenges to optimal breastfeeding practices is the fact that women have to return to work without adequate maternity protection. As mentioned by Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General, 2015, “despite some progress, globally more than 800 million women workers, or 41% still do not have adequate maternity protection and take-up rates among men of parental leave are low. Could we not design maternity protection and work-family policies that are more inclusive and supportive of gender equality?”

Anniversaries and events
This year 2015 offers the breastfeeding movement and its allies an unprecedented number of events and significant anniversaries. The planned symposium will highlight several of the anniversaries and events mentioned below.


  • Reposition the Maternity Protection Campaign – addressing contemporary challenges regarding implementation of maternity protection and other measures for both formal and informal sectors (a) economics/financing mechanisms; (b) gender equitable measures beyond maternity leave/parental/paternity leave and (c) the inclusion of women working in the informal sector.
  • Identify new allies and collaboration partners – including UN Agencies, National governments, Trade Unions, Employers, international organisations that target men, campaigns for gender equality, SRHR groups, change-making healthcare professionals and advocates for rights within the informal sector. Examples include HeForShe, Men Care, Lean In, International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), Women in Informal Employment Globalising and Organising (WIEGO) to name a few.
  • Share lessons learnt in policy implementation and the adoption of the ILO Convention 183 on Maternity Protection.
  • Share best practices from the Nordic and other countries with positive experiences with maternity protection in general and ILO Convention 183 in particular, to develop a menu of options to further the Innocenti Declaration operational target four and maintain the momentum from the WBW theme 2015.
  • Revitalise the Innocenti Declaration (1990 ) – to address contemporary challenges and offer opportunities for coordinated and concentrated action especially on operational target four.


26-28 September 2015

Radisson Blu Royal Park Hotel, Stockholm

Practical Information 


Weather Stockholm


Copyright/Photo: Melker Dahlstrand +46-70-630 20 88

For further details
WABA: Satnam Kaur
UNICEF: Maaike Arts


Symposium programme and outputs

The Symposium is a two and a half day meeting to be held immediately following the Nordic Breastfeeding Conference, which takes place from 24-25 September 2015 at the same venue. The Symposium will start in the afternoon of 26 September and last up to the end of the day on 28 September. The Symposium advances the WBW 2015 theme towards a call for concrete action. The programme will cover the topics that address the objectives above. Special attention will be given to contemporary challenges and solutions. It will be an interactive symposium with plenaries and break-out sessions moderated by experts. The main outputs at the end of the symposium are a summary of lessons learned on how to overcome challenges in the implementation of ILO Convention 183 and other maternity protection measures, and the Stockholm Declaration (or Framework for Action) which will be a forward looking action-oriented plan and will be driven by each participant and constituency.


Background Documents



Dr. Julie Smith, Australia Centre of Research- Conceptualising the combination of work and breastfeeding/time studies

These documents have been selected to illustrate how the invisibility and exploitation of women’s economically valuable unpaid care work (which includes breastfeeding) contributes to gender inequity as well as to needless mother and child health detriment and avoidable health costs worldwide. Most working women and their infants and young children globally are denied their right to be supported to breastfeed optimally: inadequate maternity protection means they are firstly, deprived of the time, the support, and the proximity they need to maintain optimal breastfeeding and protect normal health and development, and secondly, have less equitable access to the benefits and opportunities arising from economic progress and human development.

Access the documents through google drive, or
Download the documents in zip file.

ILO Documents

Other Documents




Participants will be the global breastfeeding network, UN agencies (UNICEF/WHO/ILO/UN Women/UNDP), Civil Society Organisations, government representatives from a selected number (6-8) of countries – i) countries doing well on MP and ii) countries wanting to do better on MP). Other participants will include trade unions representatives, women’s organisations, men’s organisations and others who are concerned with issues of supporting women in combining breastfeeding with work. The maximum number of participants is 75.