On behalf of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), we wish you and yours a happy, healthy and successful New Year.
As you know, since 2015, much of WADA’s time and energy, and that of the anti-doping community, has been consumed by the Russian doping scandal. Just five days in to 2019, we can see that the effort is far from over. Yet, in addition to managing the outcomes of the McLaren Investigation and continuing to work hard towards building a credible and sustainable anti-doping system in Russia, there was plenty of other important work carried out in 2018. Of particular note, below are some of the achievements that the WADA team and its bodies proudly delivered:
- A strengthened World Anti-Doping Code (Code) Compliance Monitoring Program that includes a new International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories, which came into effect on 1 April 2018.
- Continued to strengthen WADA’s capability for intelligence gathering and investigations through development of partnerships and strong networks with Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) and law enforcement around the world. As the robust whistleblower program ‘Speak Up!’ grows in importance and influence, WADA appointed a full-time Confidential Information Manager and carried out numerous successful investigations, including with respect to the International Biathlon Union and of doping in Kenyan athletics.
- In November, the Foundation Board (Board) approved wide-ranging reforms of WADA’s governance model that will lead to more independence, including for the roles of President and Vice-President, and more representation on the Agency’s Standing Committees for athletes and National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs).
- Progressed the 2021 Code Review Process, which involves simultaneous review of the International Standards; and that, will culminate with approval at the Fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport in November 2019 in Katowice, Poland.
- Drafted the International Standard for Education and the International Standard for Results Management – both that were sent out for stakeholder consultation in December.
- WADA’s Athlete Committee advanced the Anti-Doping Charter of Athlete Rights, which they initiated and started drafting in 2017. It was discussed at various WADA events in 2018 including the inaugural Global Athlete Forum in Calgary, Canada in June. The draft was put to public consultation in December in parallel with consultation regarding the Code and the International Standards.
- In May, the Laboratory Working Group’s conclusions were adopted by the Executive Committee (ExCo)/Board.
- Further developed the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) program through increased analysis and research into new biomarkers, and, in November, held a successful ABP Symposium in Rome, Italy.
- In November, the ExCo approved six social science research project grants totaling more than USD 200,000 under the 2019 Social Science Research Grant Program.
- Further developed scientific-based knowledge in other areas including the Prohibited List, Therapeutic Use Exemptions and the assessment of the prevalence of doping.
- Worked with NADOs, Regional Anti-Doping Organizations, Major Event Organizations and International Federations to enhance anti-doping capacity worldwide.
- Made significant progress with the Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) ‘Next Gen’ project, which aims at ensuring a system at the highest technical and security levels to support the global anti-doping system.
- Developed and published the up-to-date 2019 List of Prohibited Substances and Methods, which came into force on 1 January.
- Conducted successful Independent Observer and/or Athlete Outreach programs for several major events, including: the Olympic and Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea; the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia; the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia; and, the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- In May, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Fonds de recherche du Québec, which will yield CAD 2 million to focus on advanced areas of anti-doping scientific research. These funds complement WADA’s annual research allocation, which for 2018 was USD 1.5 million.
- In October, convened the second Global Education Conference in Beijing, China, which was hailed as a huge success by athletes, educators, researchers, anti-doping practitioners and government representatives.
- Completed the roll-out of WADA’s new eLearning platform (ADeL) that launched in January.
- In March, held 14th Annual Symposium in Lausanne, which gathered a record 900 delegates from the global anti-doping community.
- Made significant progress regarding the implementation of UNESCO’s International Convention Against Doping in Sport with steps having been taken to provide better assistance to State Parties in meeting the requirements of the Convention; and, also to develop a framework of consequences for those that do not.
Helping to fund all these activities, in November 2017 and May 2018 the Board approved 8% annual increases for the WADA budget for 2018-22, demonstrating the importance of WADA’s mission and the faith that the Board maintains in its management. Armed with these additional resources, the WADA team looks forward to working with you to strengthen existing activities and initiate new ones in 2019 and beyond.
There is no question that, due to the Russian doping scandal, WADA has been navigating challenging times; however, we believe that it is important that we also consider the achievements that have been delivered by WADA’s 100+ talented and dedicated people. The Agency is made up of scientists, physicians, legal experts, educators, investigators and others – a number of which were elite athletes – that, rest assured, are playing a huge part, every day, in protecting clean sport.
In November, WADA will celebrate its 20th anniversary with stakeholders who will convene for the Fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport in Katowice, Poland. Until then and thereafter, our committed and capable team will continue, with unwavering resolve, to partner and deliver on the Agency’s priorities and shape an evolving anti-doping system that is ready, willing and able to safeguard athletes’ dreams.
Sir Craig Reedie Olivier Niggli
President Director General