Director-General calls on Member States to ratify the International Convention against Doping in Sport

Director-General calls on Member States to ratify the International Convention against Doping in Sport
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

On 26 June, the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, opened the conference debate: the doping crisis in sport.

The debate is organized within the framework of UNESCO’s International Convention against Doping in Sport, the first global anti-doping convention.

In his opening remarks the Director-General first detailed the build up and eventual unanimous adoption of the convention by the 33rd session of UNESCO’s General Conference. “As a standard-setting agency with a strong ethical role and a long-standing interest in sport, it was natural for UNESCO to develop the first truly global anti-doping Convention,” stated Mr Matsuura.

“To date,” said the Director-General, “thirteen Member States have deposited instruments of ratification, approval or acceptance with UNESCO. (…) A further seventeen instruments are still urgently required, and I appeal to member States to take all the necessary steps to ratify, accept, approve or accede to the Convention”.

The purpose of the Convention is to promote the prevention of and the fight against doping in sport with a view to its elimination. “The use of performance-enhancing drugs by athletes is one of the biggest threats to sport today. It harms athletes. It destroys fair play and equitable competition and does irreparable damage to the credibility of sport” underscored the Director-General.

Mr Matsuura also encouraged the active promotion of anti-doping by the media, the sporting movement, doctors and the international community and highlighted the role of governments and education in particular. “UNESCO considers that education has a particularly important role to play in the fight against doping,” noted the Director-General. “The desire to win is healthy; the desire to win at all costs, including by cheating, is not. It is important that children and young people learn that personal integrity and honour are precious gifts that, once lost, may be difficult to recover.”

On the role of Governments the Director-General encouraged the active support of UNESCO’s partner – the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) – and proposed flexible approaches for governments to take effective action such as: restricting the availability of prohibited substances, supporting national testing, withholding financial support for rule violators and supporting the provision of anti-doping education to athletes.

“Government action is clearly essential,” added Mr Matsuura, “because there are specific areas where Governments – and only Governments – possess the means to take the fight against doping forward.”

The Director-General took this occasion to announced the designation of tenniswoman, Mrs Justine Henin-Hardenne, as a new UNESCO Champion for Sport, with the special mission to promote the fight against doping. (see UNESCOPress 2006-67)

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokeswoman
  • Source:Flash Info n°100-2006
  • 27-06-2006
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