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Anti-Doping Agency Partners with WHO in Landmark Agreement for Clean, Drug-Free Sports

In a significant development for global sports and public health, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have inked a comprehensive four-year memorandum of understanding (MoU). This milestone agreement facilitates collaboration and information sharing between experts from both international bodies, particularly in areas where anti-doping initiatives and public health concerns converge.

Enhancing the Intersection of Anti-Doping and Public Health

WADA, a staunch advocate for eradicating the misuse of drugs in sports worldwide, spearheads a concerted global effort to uphold the principles of doping-free competition. The MoU, ceremoniously signed in Geneva, Switzerland, by WADA President Witold Bańka and WHO’s Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, is set to remain in effect until October 1, 2027.

According to the joint statement by both organizations, this MoU serves as a framework for collaboration, with a specific focus on health promotion, substance abuse prevention, and the promotion of clean sports. The synergy between these objectives reflects a commitment to the well-being of athletes and society at large.

WADA President’s Perspective

Witold Bańka, President of WADA, hailed this MoU as a watershed moment in the global fight against doping. He emphasized that WADA’s mission extends beyond safeguarding fair play; it also encompasses the protection of individuals’ health worldwide. Bańka noted that a substance’s potential health risk to athletes is one of the critical criteria for its inclusion in WADA’s Prohibited List of Substances and Methods. Through this partnership, experts from both organizations will collaborate to exchange information on emerging substances and reinforce scientific positions, with far-reaching benefits for athletes and society.

Bańka expressed his gratitude to Dr. Tedros and the WHO team for their dedication to this historic agreement and their unwavering commitment to promoting healthy, clean sports worldwide.

WHO’s Commitment to Health and Sport

Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, highlighted the importance of partnering with WADA as a reflection of WHO’s dedication to working closely with the sports sector to promote physical activity on a global scale. He emphasized that sports and physical activity are pivotal to good health and that competitive sports inspire individuals to lead more active lives.

Dr. Tedros pointed out that the use of performance-enhancing substances can have detrimental effects on athletes and the integrity of sports, making the pursuit of clean sports a matter of global health concern. He stressed that keeping sports clean yields benefits beyond the sporting realm, positively impacting the health and well-being of individuals and societies worldwide.

Key Themes of the MoU

The MoU’s key themes encompass a range of critical areas, including the prevention and assessment of health risks associated with psychoactive substance use and related disorders, particularly focusing on doping compounds and substance use among athletes. It also involves awareness-raising efforts, educational initiatives with support from goodwill ambassadors and influencers to drive positive change, collaboration on addressing substandard and falsified medical products, and reporting on the abuse and misuse of such products in sports.

The formal agreement aligns with both organizations’ shared objective of advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3, which emphasizes ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all. This goal is rooted in the United Nations’ 2023 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, and provides a collective roadmap for global prosperity and well-being.

This landmark agreement follows an initial meeting between WADA and WHO at the WHO headquarters in Geneva in April 2023, signifying their mutual commitment to advancing the realms of clean sports and public health.

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