11.01.2013 - Social and Human Sciences Sector

Doping: UNESCO calls for “zero tolerance”

© UNESCO / D. Bijeljac

UNESCO will take part in a workshop, organized by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), on the traffic of doping substances, on 22 January 2013, in Lausanne (Switzerland). During this workshop, which will also involve experts from INTERPOL, research on the experience to reduce traffic in Italy will be particularly examined.

This case study will complement an extensive investigation conducted on behalf of UNESCO and WADA in 2012, in more than fifty UNESCO Member States having already ratified the International Convention against Doping in Sport. Conducted by researchers from Loughborough University (United Kingdom), this investigation - the final report has just been published online - reveals that major problems encountered in the fight against doping in sport are related to the variety of shapes which traffic can take and the difficulties this generates at the level of lead investigations, and to the lack of specialization of police forces, and exchange of information at the international level.

The fight against the use and the trade of prohibited substances and methods is today the main challenge to curb the scourge of doping in sport globally. Without a legal framework, and without information sharing among all authorities involved, progress is likely to be limited and to be confined to control tests. In addition, the diversity of national legislations complicates international efforts. This makes the challenge even greater. Consequently, while the international community recognizes the “List of Prohibited Substances and Methods” updated every year by WADA, before being validated and promoted by UNESCO, national laws are not always in coherence with this list.

To take up this challenge, UNESCO has a decisive role to play. Having given the world in 2005, the international legal framework that was previously lacking, with the International Convention against Doping in Sport, UNESCO now encourages not only its Member States to develop policies of “zero tolerance” towards doping, but also ensures the harmonization of all national laws and strongly encourages the exchange of information, including INTERPOL.

Formalizing the responsibilities of States in the fight against the trafficking of doping substances, the Convention lists specific measures to be adopted by governments in this regard. This universal international treaty stipulates that governments should adopt measures to restrict the availability of prohibited substances and methods in order to reduce illegal use by athletes (Article 8). By ratifying the Convention, States commit themselves to the fight against the trafficking of doping substances, and to this end, take “measures to control production, movement, importation, distribution and sale.” The signatories also undertake to “encourage cooperation between anti-doping organizations, public authorities and sports organizations” within their jurisdiction and within the jurisdiction of other States Parties (Article 13).

On 1 January 2013, 172 UNESCO Member States had ratified the International Convention against Doping in Sport. All will gather at its Headquarters in Paris, on 19 and 20 September 2013, to take part in the 4th session of the Conference of Parties to the Convention, which will amend in particular, as every year, Annex I of the Convention related to the list of prohibited substances and methods.




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