WADA’s Regional Anti-Doping Organization Program continues to build capacity around the world

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The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has disbanded two Regional Anti-Doping Organizations (RADOs) after the member countries involved successfully managed to develop their own self-sufficient anti-doping programs, with assistance from WADA. A third RADO has also been closed with its three members being invited to join another RADO in the region.

WADA’s RADO Program was created in 2004 to strengthen the protection of clean sport by developing innovative anti-doping strategies for those countries that most needed it. The Program continues to support less resourced National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) and National Olympic Committees (NOCs) acting as NADOs with funding, training and ongoing anti-doping assistance as they strive to implement anti-doping programs that are compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code (Code).

As part of the 2021-2025 RADO Program Strategy, a comprehensive evaluation was conducted on all RADOs to determine their status of development and develop a way forward for each RADO that meets the needs of the respective member countries. As part of this evaluation, it was determined that three RADOs, namely the Eastern European RADO, Gulf States and Yemen RADO and the South America RADO, would complete their mandate and cease to exist as of 1 January 2022. Therefore, there are now 12 RADOs supporting 115 countries globally.

WADA Director, NADO/RADO Relations, Tom May, said: “This is very positive news for anti-doping in these regions. One of the goals of the Regional Anti-Doping Organization Program is to assist countries in developing their own National Anti-Doping Organizations. The progress made over the years by the member countries of the Eastern Europe RADO and the Gulf States and Yemen RADO has resulted in there no longer being a need for such organizations in these regions. Instead, we will focus on working with the individual countries to develop their programs even further.”

In addition to these two RADOs, the decision was taken to close the South America RADO given that it had only three member countries. Since these countries still require further support, they have been invited to join the Pan American RADO.

WADA Senior Manager, NADO/RADO Relations, Ieva Lukosiute-Stanikuniene, said: “The RADO Program continues to play a significant role globally in supporting the 115 member countries, and this role will become increasingly important with the enhanced requirements of WADA’s Compliance Monitoring Program. WADA will continue to develop programs and tools to assist, including our Anti-Doping Education and Learning platform, known as ADEL, and our Code Implementation Support Program. However, the support of other, more experienced Anti-Doping Organizations is also crucial to the success of the Program. The RADOs have been fortunate enough to have benefited from the support of numerous National Anti-Doping Organizations and International Federations, and we will be counting on this support to continue as we work together to establish strong anti-doping programs worldwide.”

Eastern Europe RADO

The Eastern Europe RADO (EERADO) played a critical role in the development of anti-doping programs in its member countries since its establishment in 2008. This RADO, with eight member countries, was based in Georgia since 2011, supported by the Georgia NOC and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs. Once the decision to close the RADO was made, individual NADO-NADO partnerships were established for 2021-2022 to ensure the former RADO member countries would benefit from the expertise and experience of more developed NADOs. These partnerships include Albania-Poland, Moldova-Slovakia/Croatia, North Macedonia-Serbia, Armenia-Hungary, and Kosovo-Slovenia. A detailed project plan has been developed, supported by WADA and the Central Europe Anti-Doping Organization (CEADO), and good progress is being made in all countries. For the other three former EERADO countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Montenegro), WADA continues to engage directly with each of them as they move forward in strengthening their anti-doping programs.

Gulf States and Yemen RADO

The Gulf States and Yemen RADO was an avenue for its seven member countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen) to cooperate and share experiences since it was established in 2005. This RADO was one of the first established within WADA’s RADO Program and led the way in terms of capability building and training. The support of the Olympic Council of Asia was crucial to the success of this RADO, including through the hosting of its office in Kuwait. In the second half of 2021, as the RADO prepared to complete its activities, a training program was established for the RADO member countries. Thanks to the NADOs of China (CHINADA), Korea (KADA), Japan (JADA) and New Zealand (DFSNZ), training was conducted on Therapeutic Use Exemptions, testing, education, results management, and intelligence and investigations. In addition, it was agreed that Yemen would require additional support and therefore it is now a member of the West Asia RADO, based in Jordan.

South America RADO

The South America RADO was the most recent addition to the RADO community, being established in 2015. The authorities in Paraguay generously hosted the office, and the three member countries (Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru) worked closely together to further develop their anti-doping programs. Prior to closing the RADO, discussions were held with the Pan American RADO (based in Panama) and it was agreed that the South American RADO members would be invited to join the Pan American RADO. All three have expressed an interest in doing so and are finalizing the membership requirements, which will then ensure they continue to receive the significant support that is provided within the RADO Program.