Friday, 12 October 2007

Chapter TWO: The Intergovernmental Authority of WADA

Chapter ONE: Who Begat WADA?, the subject of how the International Olympic Committee began its quest, and realized the same, with the inception of the World Antidoping Agency. Briefly, this Agency, headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, was the out-sourcing of a problem that rationally was believed to be best solved in an agency that was independent of the Olympic Movement.

That vision came to be reality in November 1999, and by 2001 the headquarters in Montreal were also a reality. Work was also underway to produce the WADA CODE itself, and a unique situation presented the new Agency with a dilemma...

Chapter TWO: The Intergovernmental Authority of WADA

A singular dilemma remained to be solved, which was how to involve Governments (or "States") in the adherence to a non-State 'Agency' as WADA was defined (a private Swiss Foundation)?

There were "three" steps, the first being the international agreement known as the Copenhagen Declaration.

It briefly (only seven pages) delineated the support of world governments (as of August 2007, there were 191) towards the formulation of the next step, an intergovernmental agreement to cover the aspects vis-à-vis the governments' collective role(s) in supporting WADA's mission, its development of the WADA CODE, and financial commitments.

Later that same year, the United Nations General Assembly passed, in late 2003, its GA Resolution A/58/5, which mentions concerns of the Assembly towards sport, youth and the scourge of doping (see middle page 2).

The third step came about in a fashion best restated by the words from the WADA website:

"Because many governments cannot be legally bound by a non-governmental document such as the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code), they accordingly, pursuant to the Code, drafted an International Convention under the auspices of UNESCO, the United Nations body responsible for education, science, and culture, to allow formal acceptance of WADA and the Code. The International Convention against Doping in Sport was adopted unanimously by the 33rd UNESCO General Conference on October 19, 2005."

UNESCO is the sole UN Agency which includes 'Sport' in its mandate. In a document UNESCO produced, entitled "COMBATTING DOPING IN SPORT", it outlined why it became necessary to augment the fight against "one of the biggest threats to sports today." In its own words:

These concerns were first highlighted in the UNESCO International Charter of Physical Education and Sport (Paris, 21 November 1978). Article 7 of the Charter notes the deleterious nature of doping and states that: “No effort must be spared to highlight the harmful effects of doping, which is both injurious to health and contrary to the sporting ethic, or to protect the physical and mental health of athletes, the virtues of fair play and competition, the integrity of the sporting community and the rights of people participating in it at any level whatsoever.”

Key points here are the following: as the International Federations that make up the Signatories of WADA are private entities for the greatest part, such as the FIS for skiing, the UCI for cycling, or the FEI for 'Horsesport' (NB: the WADA CODE has an entire section devoted to animal testing), so that the ability of governmental input was not yet an option, without the two-step process that led to the Copenhagen Declaration, and the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport.

The UNESCO Convention was unanimously adopted on 19 October, 2005, at the 33rd session of the UNESCO General Conference (how slowly turn the wheels of intergovernmental diplomacy...).

Its thrust was on promoting government action to implement flexibly (legislation, regulation, policy development or ... dictorial decree?), both national and international commitment to the precepts of the WADA CODE. These included:

Restrict the availability of prohibited substances or methods to athletes (except for legitimate medical purposes), including measures against trafficking,
● Facilitate doping controls and support national testing programmes,
● Withhold financial support from athletes and athlete support personnel who commit an anti-doping rule violation, or sporting organisations that are not in compliance with the Code,
● Encourage producers and distributors of nutritional supplements to establish ‘best practice’ in the labelling, marketing and distribution of products which might contain prohibited substances, and
● Support the provision of anti-doping education to athletes and the wider community.

Entry into force for the The International Convention against Doping in Sport occurred in the late fall of 2006 when the threshold of 30 ratifications was met by the submission from Luxembourg.

Coming next:

Chapter THREE: The WADA CODE and its progeny
Chapter FOUR: The Future of WADA CODE Revisions

Links back to:
Chapter ONE: Who Begat WADA?

Watch! WADA

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