Governance best practices

The following presents governance best practices within WADA related to transparency, athlete representation and accountability (including democratic processes and control mechanisms).


WADA operates with high standards of transparency and is committed to further strengthening this element of its operations – demonstrating the Agency’s accountability to its vast stakeholder base; and, the respect that it has for diverse needs and opinions. By way of example:

  • WADA’s Board meetings are open to the public, including the media.
  • On WADA’s website, one can find in particular:
    • The Agency’s Statutes;
    • Its vision, mission, values and Five-Year Strategic Plan;
    • Information on WADA’s governance, along with its members/representatives;
    • The verbatim minutes of WADA’s Board and ExCo along with media releases summarizing the main decisions taken (The Board and ExCo meeting minutes are published on WADA’s website once they have been approved by the Board and ExCo, generally at their subsequent meeting. The minutes are ‘intelligent, third-person, verbatim transcriptions,’ i.e., slightly edited for readability.);
    • The terms of reference of all Standing Committees;
    • The meeting notes of the Agency’s Standing Committee meetings;
    • Its media releases and a wide array of other communications;
    • An updated list of annual contributions received from Governments;
    • Annual Reports containing externally audited financial statements in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards;
    • An updated list of World Anti-Doping Code (Code) Signatories, including those that are or were in a non-compliant status and those that have received a WADA compliance audit;
    • An annual compliance report;
    • All reports issued by WADA Independent Observer teams following audits of Major Events since 2000;
    • A list of all scientific and social science projects that have received WADA grants;
    • An annual report of worldwide testing figures; and
    • An annual report of worldwide Anti-Doping Rule Violations.
  • WADA regularly carries out All Stakeholder consultations related to elements of the Global Anti-Doping ProgramFor example, WADA carried out a two-year, three-phase consultation process related to the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code and related International Standards that enter into effect on 1 January 2021. During this process, stakeholders and any other interested party had multiple opportunities to contribute and make recommendations on how to further strengthen the Program, with new drafts of the documents and all stakeholder comments being published on WADA’s website at the end of each consultation phase. Following the review process, in November 2019, stakeholders were invited to intervene publicly on the proposed Code and Standards during the Agency's Fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport – an opportunity which was taken up by over 70 stakeholder organizations – before the Code and the full suite of Standards were approved by the Board and ExCo respectively.

  • Aerial view of a hockey player skating on the ice, move the puck with his stick.

Athlete Representation

  • Athletes have dedicated seats in the Board, ExCo and all the Standing Committees.
  • Athletes have the following dedicated seats on the ExCo and Board:
    • ExCo: One seat (as per the reforms adopted in November 2021: one seat will be added for the WADA Athlete Council Chair)

    • Board: Four seats (as per the reforms adopted in November 2021: two seats will be added for athletes chosen by the WADA Athlete Council)

The athletes that currently hold these dedicated seats are International Olympic Committee Athlete Commission (IOC AC) members who are also members of WADA’s Athlete Committee.

Currently, approximately-one third of the members of the WADA Board and ExCo are active or former international-level athletes. Additionally, approximately one-third of the members of the Standing Committees are active or former international-level athletes. As part of the governance reforms, WADA has increased athletes’ representation by ensuring that, since 2020, all Standing Committees now include at least one athlete representative (upon establishment of the Athlete Council, these athlete representatives will be chosen by the Athlete Council from among its members).

  • It should also be noted that, in November 2021, the ExCo endorsed a one-year pilot project for an Athletes’ Anti-Doping Ombuds Program, which will help athletes through the anti-doping process, providing independent advice, support and resolution of disputes.


(including democratic processes and control mechanisms)

  • WADA’s governing bodies meet regularly (twice a year for the Board and three times a year for the ExCo).
  • WADA Board and ExCo members have term limits of three mandates of three years each (nine years total).
  • WADA’s President and Vice-President are elected and the election process is detailed in the Statutes.
  • WADA has developed stricter independence criteria for its President and Vice-President, as well as independent members of the ExCo, the CRC, Nominations Committee and Independent Ethics Board. General independence criteria are applied for all WADA members.
  • WADA publishes open positions for all its Standing Committees, including details on the nomination process and application deadlines (six months in advance of appointment).
  • WADA has written privacy and information security management programs that include a privacy and information security governance framework. Under the framework, accountability for privacy and information security functions is assigned to dedicated individuals.
  • WADA observes open tenders for its major procurement contracts (per WADA finance policy, a minimum of two-three proposals must be sought for projects greater than USD 10,000).
  • WADA has internal control systems and regularly conducts risk analyses -- both business and anti-doping.
  • WADA has a comprehensive whistleblower program/platform (Speak Up) in place and a whistleblower policy approved by the Board.
  • Under the Intelligence & Investigations policy, WADA’s Intelligence & Investigations Department, which manages the whistleblower program, operates independently from the rest of the Agency. It may run any investigation that it deems appropriate, in accordance with the policy, without seeking the prior consent or approval of the ExCo, Board, President or Director General, and manages its own budget. On an annual basis, the Intelligence & Investigations Department is audited by an Independent Supervisor to ensure that the Department’s work continuously satisfies best practices, follows the applicable laws and regulations, and protects the rights and privacy of individuals. This report is subsequently made public.
  • WADA has a Harassment Prevention and Grievances Policy, communicated to and signed by WADA staff.
  • WADA has appointed an external Ombudsperson to whom WADA staff members can file an official complaint.