5 November 2015

Governments accelerate commitment to protect clean athletes at pivotal time for anti-doping

WADA, UNESCO, Governments and public authorities convened in Paris last week for the 5th UNESCO Conference of Parties.

Government ratification of the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport has proliferated this year with five new ratifications in as many months, bringing the number of ratifications to 183 of 195 countries worldwide (98% commitment). Governments maintained this momentum in Paris last week as they agreed to revise the UNESCO ADLogic questionnaire, the biannual self-reporting requirement, to take account of changes in the World Anti-Doping Code (2009 and 2013) and the changing anti-doping environment. The UNESCO Director General agreed to write to non-compliant countries and encourage compliance, underpinned by an expanded role of the Bureau.

“In light of the numerous and widespread allegations of doping in sport, and with the enhanced revised World Anti-Doping Code rules now being practiced worldwide, governments all acknowledge that we have reached something of a juncture for anti-doping in sport,” said WADA Vice President, Rev. Dr. Makhenkesi. A. Stofile.

Representatives from Saudi Arabia (Chairperson), Kenya, Republic of Korea, Colombia and Romania (Vice Chairpersons) and the United Kingdom (Rapporteur) were elected to the Bureau of the Conference of Parties; the representatives from Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Korea also hold positions on WADA’s Foundation Board.

Ministers debated the UNESCO Voluntary Fund for the Elimination of Doping in Sport -- a fund that helps build anti-doping capacity in parts of the world most in need of support, in particular Least Developed Countries. The Approval Committee met immediately prior to the Conference and approved a further 15 Projects -- 14 national and one regional worth USD 300,000, which will be allocated to support anti-doping efforts. Newly elected members to the Approval Committee for the next biennium are from Finland, Russia, Bahamas, China, South Africa and Oman. Attendees requested that the UNESCO Policy Project, which aims to help governments implement the Convention, be sent to the Approval Committee of the Voluntary Fund; the Committee will meet in early 2016.

WADA and UNESCO signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) highlighting key areas in which the two organizations would collaborate. This includes monitoring the Convention and the World Anti-Doping Code (respectively); and developing anti-doping education and WADA’s continued advisory support role for the UNESCO Voluntary Fund. “The MOU signed by WADA and UNESCO will provide both organizations with a strong framework under which we can collaborate and protect clean athletes worldwide,” said WADA Director General, David Howman.