Sweden first State to ratify Convention Against Doping in SportSweden has become the first country to ratify the International Convention Against Doping in Sport. This Convention, adopted unanimously by UNESCO’s General Conference last October, is the only legally binding universal instrument aimed at eradicating doping in sport.
UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura welcomed Sweden’s rapid response to the new Convention, which will come into force one month after 30 countries have ratified it. Mr Matsuura called on other States to follow suit.
“Sweden deposited its instruments of ratification on the 9th of November, less than one month after its adoption. A number of other countries have signaled their intention to ratify the Convention as quickly as possible, but I would urge all of UNESCO’s Member States to do so,” the Director-General said. “It would be ideal if the Convention could enter into force in time for the Winter Olympics in Turin next February,” he added.
The Convention provides governments with a legal framework to harmonize international efforts in the fight against a scourge that flouts the ethical and social values of sport and threatens the health of athletes. However, the new instrument goes beyond testing and sanctions. It calls upon States Parties to “undertake, within their means, to support, devise or implement education and training programs on anti-doping” in order to raise public awareness of the negative effects of doping on health and on the ethical values of sport, as well as provide information on the rights and responsibilities of athletes and on testing procedures. Signatories will also promote “active participation by athletes and athlete support personnel in all facets of anti-doping”.
Regarding testing and sanctions, the new Convention stipulates that all the world’s athletes be subjected to the same rules and regularly tested, with uniform sanctions for any infraction. It commits the States Parties to adopt measures in line with the principles stated in the World Anti-Doping Code of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), adopted during the World Conference on Doping in Sport held in Copenhagen in2003.
The Code and international standards establishing the technical and operational aspects (prohibited substances, therapeutic use exemption, laboratories) together set universal rules and procedures concerning all the dimensions of anti-doping testing. The Convention calls for a procedure that would quickly submit to all States Parties for their approval the list of prohibited substances and the exceptions, as drawn up and regularly updated by WADA.
The States Parties to the Convention commit “to foster international cooperation between States Parties and leading organisations in the fight against doping in sport, in particular with WADA [...] to encourage and facilitate the sports organisations and anti-doping organisations within their jurisdiction to carry out the doping controls in a manner consistent with the Code including no-advance notice, out-of-competition and in-competition testing” as well as to “facilitate the timely movement of duly authorised doping control teams across borders when conducting doping control activities”. They also commit to promote cooperation between testing laboratories and to “mutually recognise the doping control procedures and test results management, including the sport sanctions thereof, of any anti-doping organisation that are consistent with the Code.”
The ruling body of the Convention is the Conference of Parties, which is responsible for its implementation. WADA is invited as an advisory body to the Conference of Parties while UNESCO provides the Secretariat.