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Nurturing the democratic debate.  
103 countries ask UNESCO to prepare an international convention against doping in sport
Editorial Contact: Jasmina Sopova, Bureau of Public Information, Editorial Section. Tel: O1 45 68 17 17 - Email

10-01-2003 2:00 pm Paris - The ministers and senior officials of physical education and sport from 103 countries today asked UNESCO to elaborate, with the United Nations and other competent agencies, an International Convention against doping in sport. Meeting for two days at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris for a Round Table of Ministers of Physical Education and Sport, which finished this evening, 45 ministers and numerous senior officials of physical education and sport from 103 countries adopted a communique in which they called for sport to be given its rightful place in education systems, for improved protection of young athletes against the risks of high level sport, and to fight doping, notably through the elaboration of an international instrument.

Stressing that doping "threatens to kill sport as surely as it kills athletes", the ministers and representatives from the 103 countries present stressed that "to combat this risk that is developing among young people, prevention is the best defence." They recognized the "need for increased coordination of efforts at the international level […] through the harmonizing of regulations and practices." To achieve this, they insisted on the urgency of elaborating an International Convention.

They committed themselves to "accelerate the preparation of an International Convention against doping based on the Council of Europe's Convention against doping and request UNESCO, in cooperation with the United Nations Organization, other competent UN system agencies and the Council of Europe, in close collaboration with other concerned bodies such as the International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency and IICGADS (Intergovernmental Consultative Group on Anti-Doping in Sport), to coordinate the preparation, if possible before the Summer Olympic Games of 2004, and the adoption, if possible before the Winter Olympic Games of 2006, of a universal international instrument for this purpose."

Consequently, the participating States invited the Director-General of UNESCO to "bring the conclusions of this Round Table to the knowledge of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, drawing his particular attention to the importance of physical education and sport, the desirability of debating this topic in the General Assembly, and asking for the collaboration of the United Nations Organization and other competent UN System Agencies in the elaboration of an International Convention on doping in sport."

In their communique, the 103 participating States also noted that in many countries physical education faces "increasing marginalization within education systems," and this at a time when sport has become a significant economic activity and gained unprecedented prominence and visibility across the world.

To reverse this marginalization, they committed themselves to "work actively so that the place of physical education and sport within education systems is fully recognized and developed," which implies "combating all forms of discrimination linked to gender, income, social origins, location or disability."

The participants also undertook to "put in place monitoring systems to regularly review the situation of physical education" in their countries, and to "revitalize the practice of traditional sports and games, a key expression of cultural identities."

The participants also raised the issue of protection of young athletes, which they said should include "safeguarding against such risks as child labour, violence, doping, early specialization, over-training, and exploitative forms of commercialization as well as less visible threats and deprivations such as the premature severance of family bonds and the loss of sporting, social and cultural ties."

To this end, they committed themselves to "take appropriate measures […] that address the loss by developing countries of talented young athletes by improving training facilities, including the establishment of high-level regional training centres."

****


Following is the complete text of the Final Communique of the Round Table of Ministers and Senior Officials Reponsible for Physical Education and Sport

1. At the close of the Round Table on Physical Education and Sport held in Paris on 9 and 10 January 2003 we, the participating and represented ministers and senior officials, arrived, on the basis of our exchanges, at the following joint positions:

a) It is paradoxical that, at a time when sport has become a significant economic activity, has gained an unprecedented prominence and visibility across the world, and is considered as an element of inter-cultural dialogue, physical education faces in many countries increasing marginalization within education systems even though it is a major tool not only for health and physical development but also for acquiring values necessary for social cohesion and inter-cultural dialogue. There is a particular challenge in making opportunities for physical education available in less developed countries. Physical education and sport provide excellent opportunities for young people to learn to communicate, cooperate, work in teams, respect others, acquire discipline and accept defeat - all aspects that are becoming daily more important in a world of globalization in which cultural identities are under threat and in which learning to live together in peace and harmony is a prerequisite. Physical education, as a key component of quality education and an integral part of lifelong learning, contributes to the acquisition of ethical values and the encouragement of fair play practices.

b) The protection of young athletes should be understood in the perspective of the principles stated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. That is why protection should not be understood solely in terms of health as well as physical and psychological integrity. It also involves quality education that facilitates long-term personal and professional development. To this end, flexible modalities of educational provision should be provided which meet the educational needs of young athletes. Protection also includes safeguarding against such dangers as child labour, violence, doping, early specialization, over-training, and exploitative forms of commercialization as well as less visible threats and deprivations such as the premature severance of family bonds and the loss of sporting, social and cultural ties.

c) Doping, as a breach of sporting ethics and a danger to public health, threatens to kill sport as surely as it kills athletes. In order to combat this risk that is developing among young people, prevention is the best defence. This prevention is conducted through education, information, research and medical follow-up as well as through dissuasion, controls and sanctions. It must be recognized that there is a need for increased coordination of efforts at the international level to facilitate a more effective struggle against this scourge, through the harmonizing of regulations and practices and by securing greater adhesion to these regulations and practices among all concerned stakeholders. The primary responsibility rests with States, some of which need assistance. Hence, the urgency of elaborating an International Convention against doping must be underlined, for only an international instrument of this kind will enable the necessary protective measures and controls to be introduced into national legislation in a consistent manner.


2. Consequently, we the participating and represented ministers and senior officials responsible for physical education and sport commit ourselves to:

a) Make further efforts to fulfil the commitments made at the Third International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS III).

b)
- Work actively so that the place of physical education and sport within and outside education systems is fully recognized and developed - through actions to improve the curriculum, sports facilities and equipment, the status of physical education and the initial and in-service training of teachers and also through the elaboration of strategies for combating all forms of discrimination linked to gender, income, social origins, location or disability.

- Put in place monitoring systems to regularly review the situation of physical education in our respective countries, in particular its role in evaluation systems.

- Strengthen cooperation between different partners (the family, schools, sporting associations and clubs, communities, local and other relevant authorities, public and private sectors) to obtain a synergy that ensures the availability of physical education of good quality for all.

- Support less developed countries in their efforts to offer more opportunities for physical education and sport to their people.

- Revitalize the practice of traditional sports and games, a key expression of cultural identities, and promote their interaction with modern sports.

c)
- Take appropriate measures, at national and international levels, that address the loss by developing countries of talented young athletes by improving training facilities, including the establishment of high-level regional training centres.

- Provide appropriate information and training to all concerned parties (parents, teachers, coaches, agents, officials of clubs and associations, media, etc.) so that, through guidance and advice, they can help young people make sensible decisions.

- Promote, through UNESCO and the Intergovernmental Committee on Physical Education and Sport (CIGEPS), on the basis of existing international normative instruments, the definition of globally acceptable principles which allow talented young people to develop their athletic potential while not denying them their fundamental rights; for this purpose, encourage the professions concerned to develop a "code of good practice", in close cooperation with sports movements.
d)
- Strengthen national programmes to combat doping and develop long-term strategies of information and education which engage all concerned stakeholders: students and athletes, parents and teachers, sports officials, doctors, and the media; and promote international cooperation and assistance to this end.

Extend the efforts against doping into recreational and non-competitive areas of sporting activity.

- Encourage Member States to attend the World Anti-Doping Agency's Conference in Copenhagen and support the development of a Global Anti-doping Code, as well as the efforts made by sports movements to develop anti-doping programmes, making use of the decisions made by the International Intergovernmental Consultative Group on Anti-doping and Sport (IICGADS) in Moscow.

- Work to broaden the number of States Parties to the Council of Europe's Convention against doping

- At the same time, accelerate the preparation of an International Convention against doping based on the Council of Europe's Convention against doping and request UNESCO, in cooperation with the United Nations Organization, other competent UN system agencies and the Council of Europe, in close collaboration with other concerned bodies such as the International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency and IICGADS, to coordinate the preparation, if possible before the Summer Olympic Games of 2004, and the adoption, if possible before the Winter Olympic Games of 2006, of a universal international instrument for this purpose.

3. We request, therefore, the Director-General of UNESCO:

a) to transmit this communiqué for follow-up action to UNESCO's Member States, to the Intergovernmental Committee on Physical Education and Sport (CIGEPS) at its meeting in Spring 2003, to the General Conference of UNESCO at its 32nd session in October 2003, and to the Fourth International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS IV) in August 2004.

b) to transmit to the General Conference of UNESCO at its 32nd session the proposal that an International Year for Physical Education and Sport be proclaimed for submission to the UN General Assembly.

c) bring the conclusions of this Round Table to the knowledge of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, drawing his particular attention to the importance of physical education and sport, the desirability of debating this topic in the General Assembly, and asking for the collaboration of the United Nations Organization and other competent UN System Agencies in the elaboration of an International Convention on doping in sport.

4. We welcome the holding of the Fourth International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS IV) in Athens in August 2004, on the eve of the Olympic Games, during which we will continue to advance the agenda on the three themes considered by the present Round Table.






Source Press Release N° 2003-02
Author(s) UNESCOPRESS


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