Last week, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) called for unity, collaboration and harmonization in anti-doping across all Francophone nations in order to strengthen the anti-doping system for athletes of the world.
Represented by WADA’s Africa Office, WADA’s Director General, Olivier Niggli, addressed the 38th annual Conference of Ministers of Youth and Sports of French-speaking Countries (CONFEJES), which took place in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Mr. Niggli’s address congratulated the new CONFEJES President, Mr. Dominique Nana, and Secretary General, Ms. Louisette Renée Thobi Etame-Ndedi, on their recent appointments, and pledged to support them with practical cooperation in the pursuit of the two organizations’ common goals.
WADA’s Director General took the opportunity to stress the importance of an athlete's right to clean sport. “Athletes represent the heart of sport. They are the reason why sport exists and why WADA was created. Our role is to protect their rights, in particular by enabling them to compete on a level playing field with integrity and fairness. Therefore, I ask you to do everything possible to provide Anti-Doping Organizations with the right infrastructure and the resources they need to implement independent and effective anti-doping programs that are World Anti-Doping Code compliant.”
While WADA is the global regulatory body for anti-doping in sport, it cannot – and does not – act alone, relying on collaboration and cooperation with many different organizations around the world, including CONFEJES. To that end, in June 2020, WADA and CONFEJES signed a partnership agreement to strengthen the integrity of sport and help tackle doping within the 43 CONFEJES member countries. The agreement ensures that CONFEJES can incentivize its members to implement fully the terms of the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport as well as the principles of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code). The agreement is consistent with WADA’s 2020-2024 Strategic Plan, which prioritizes the formation of strong partnerships in order to build regional capacity, enhance education and implement anti-doping program development around the world.
Mr. Niggli added: “WADA cannot successfully do its job unilaterally – our mission is universal. Our responsibilities grow every year and yet, our resources remain limited. For these reasons, innovative partnerships with organizations such as CONFEJES are crucial to the success of the entire anti-doping movement. In this respect, the agreement signed between WADA and CONFEJES last year is an important contribution to this objective. In cooperation with WADA, CONFEJES can lead the way and play a significant role in the implementation of the Code in its member countries.”
WADA and CONFEJES have a long-standing partnership dating back to another agreement signed in 2007. It has been a relationship that has yielded significant results, especially in the area of capacity building and education within National and Regional Anti-Doping Organizations involving CONFEJES member countries. The two organizations are now working on agreeing additional practical ways to support the agreement and are discussing how best to collaborate on a range of projects. To that end, a joint webinar with senior government officials of member countries was held at the end of 2020.