WADA Director General addresses Global Ministerial Forum in Saudi Arabia

ministerial forum saudi arabia

Today, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Director General, Olivier Niggli, addressed the Global Ministerial Forum on Sport Values, Ethics and Integrity, held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he underscored the importance of anti-doping as a key component for protecting the integrity of sport around the world.

The first edition of the Forum, which was attended by 22 ministers and government representatives from 48 countries, was centered around high-level policy dialogue with an emphasis on the requirements and obstacles in the protection of sport values and ethics. It was also an opportunity to discuss emerging challenges and key sport integrity advancements.

Mr. Niggli’s message to those in attendance focused on WADA’s work to preserve the essential competitive nature of sport by ensuring the effectiveness of the World Anti-Doping Program. He also highlighted the Agency’s advancements in the areas of science, testing, education, athlete engagement, and intelligence and investigations.

Above all, Mr. Niggli stressed the need for continued collaboration and harmonization between governments and sport stakeholders.

He told the meeting: “It has been encouraging to see the willingness of stakeholders to collaborate in the protection of clean sport, but it remains an ongoing challenge. The role of governments is vital to enacting real legislative and cultural change. WADA will continue to call on government officials to support their National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) and the Agency by providing the resources, political support and legislative standing needed to be effective. I encourage all those in attendance to be strong clean sport ambassadors in their nations.”

The Forum opened with remarks from His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, the Minister of Sport of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Representatives from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the International Federation for football (FIFA), INTERPOL, the International Testing Agency and the International Olympic Committee also spoke at the Forum.

In his address, Mr. Niggli also thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Anti-Doping Committee (Saudi NADO) for its ongoing commitment to the global anti-doping movement.

Mr. Niggli said: “I would like to thank His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal for the warm welcome and the opportunity to address the Forum. In 2019, the Saudi Government hosted the 16th Asia/Oceania Region Intergovernmental Ministerial Meeting on Anti-Doping in Sport, in Jeddah. That was a real milestone for the development of anti-doping, one that would not have been achieved without the leadership of Saudi’s National Anti-Doping Organization President and WADA Foundation Board member Dr. Mohammed Saleh Al Konbaz.”

The Forum concluded with the Riyadh Declaration, which notably reaffirmed strong commitment to the international rules that support sport values, ethics, & integrity; acknowledged the need for adequate funding to implement actions aimed at safeguarding sport, and; committed to strengthening cooperation among public authorities, the sport movement and other key stakeholders.