The development and implementation of anti-doping education programs was once again top of the agenda at WADA’s third regional education symposium in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Some 35 representatives from 20 Latin American and Spanish speaking Caribbean countries attended the April 10-11 event, which was hosted by the Uruguay National Sport Department and opened by WADA Director General David Howman along with the Uruguay Minister of Tourism and Sport, Ms Lilián Kechician and the Director of the National Sport Department, Mr Ernesto Irurueta.
“The provision of information and education programs is mandatory under the World Anti-Doping Code and a fundamental element in the fight against doping in sport. The Symposium provided an opportunity for the anti-doping community in Latin America to share ideas for informing and educating young people about the dangers of doping, by focusing on the importance of the values of sport,” said WADA Director General David Howman.
In his welcome address, Mr Howman reminded participants, “Things have changed since we were young. We have to think outside the box to find ways of reaching current and future generations of athletes.”
The two-day Symposium consisted of an overview of WADA’s work in Latin America, along with presentations on how best to develop and implement anti-doping education program. A series of breakout sessions and presentations from the region provided the opportunity for countries to share ideas and develop education plans.
As was the case with the previous Symposia – held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2011, and in Shanghai, China, in 2012 – participants were encouraged to consider opportunities for overcoming challenges associated with financial and human resources for implementing anti-doping education programs by utilizing existing resources, leveraging partnerships and applying for funding through the UNESCO Fund for the Elimination of Doping in Sport.
“The aim of the Symposium was to give our stakeholders in Latin America some very clear direction with regards to anti-doping education and empower them with the tools to start their programs,” said Rob Koehler, WADA Director of Education and Program Development.
“WADA would like to place a greater focus on assisting stakeholders with the implementation of education programs, by working closely with them and identifying strategies for better practice. The Symposium is one of the many ways that we are able to meet this goal.”
A significant outcome of the Symposium was the drafting of the “Montevideo Declaration on Anti-Doping Education", which was raised by the participants as a way of ensuring that participants put into action what they have worked on and discussed during the Symposium.
WADA has been involved in several anti-doping education capacity building activities in Latin America, which was kick started with an Education Symposium in Montevideo in 2005.