Governments have many responsibilities in the fight against doping in sport. They also have powers that sport organizations do not have.

For example, governments can facilitate doping controls and support national testing programs; encourage the establishment of “best practice” in the labelling, marketing and distribution of products that might contain prohibited substances; withhold financial support from those who engage in or support doping; take measures against manufacturing and trafficking of doping substances; encourage the establishment of codes of conduct for professions relating to sport and anti-doping; and fund anti-doping education and research.

Many governments cannot be legally bound by a non-governmental document such as the World Anti-Doping Code (Code). Accordingly, governments prepared the Copenhagen Declaration on Anti-Doping in Sport, a political document through which they signalled their intention to formally recognize and implement the Code through an international treaty. The Copenhagen Declaration was finalized in 2003. 

Pursuant to the Code, governments subsequently drafted an international convention under the auspices of UNESCO, the United Nations body responsible for education, science, and culture, to allow formal acceptance of WADA and the Code.

The International Convention against Doping in Sport was adopted unanimously by the 33rd UNESCO General Conference on October 19, 2005, and went into force on February 1, 2007, following the 30th ratification. UNESCO Member States are now ratifying it individually according to their respective constitutional jurisdictions.

In this section, governments can find more information about the Copenhagen Declaration, the UNESCO Convention as well as their responsibilities in the fight against doping in sport.