International Convention against Doping in Sport

By adopting the Convention on 19 October 2005, UNESCO responded to the calls from the international community. At the Third International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS III) in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in December 1999, consideration was given to ethical values in sport. Ministers expressed concern over unethical behavior, in particular doping in sport, and urged all countries to take concerted action.

The Convention represents the first time that governments around the world have agreed to apply the force of international law to anti-doping. This is important because there are specific areas where only governments possess the means to take the fight against doping forward.

The Convention also helps to ensure the effectiveness of the World Anti-Doping Code (the Code). As the Code is a non-government document that applies only to members of sports organizations, the Convention provides the legal framework under which governments can address specific areas of the doping problem that are outside the domain of the sports movement. As such, the Convention helps to formalize global anti-doping rules, policies and guidelines in order to provide an honest and equitable playing environment for all athletes.

There is a degree of flexibility as to how governments can give effect to the Convention, either by way of legislation, regulation, policies or administrative practices. However, signatory governments (States Parties) are required to take specific action to:

  • 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 from sporting organizations 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;
  • Support the provision of anti-doping education to athletes and the wider sporting community.

Entered into force on 1 February 2007 – becoming the most successful convention in the history of UNESCO in terms of rhythm of ratification after adoption –, the Convention is now the second most ratified of all UNESCO treaties.

The Convention also provides a mechanism to assist States Parties to develop anti-doping education and prevention programmes through the Fund for the Elimination of Doping in Sport managed by UNESCO.

See also

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