The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has been busy the last week, announcing meetings with National Anti-Doping Agencies, and the funding of 18 new research projects. Firstly, WADA is hosting an Executive Committee meeting in Istanbul today, wherein the approval of the 2022 list of prohibited substances and methods is on the agenda. In addition, the committee will be voting for approval of research projects, and voting on approval for an “enhanced policy” regarding WADA’s application of the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories.
Beyond the approval votes, the committee will also be discussing an update to ongoing governing reforms, and an update on the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global anti-doping system. A draft for the organization’s 2022 budget will also begin to be discussed.
Last week, WADA announced $475,000 in funds to be allocated towards 18 new social science research projects, as part of the organization’s Social Science Research Grant Program. Olivier Niggli, WADA Director General, said of the grants, “Ultimately, WADA’s goal is to invest in impactful research that increases our understanding of the behaviors we are seeking to reinforce or prevent vis-à-vis doping in sport. With this, we improve WADA’s ability, and the global anti-doping community’s capability, to develop effective policies and practices that enhance the sporting experience for all.”
The research projects span 14 countries across 5 different continents, and according to WADA ” 72% of the projects are being conducted in countries that have traditionally received less research funding.” This year’s round of funding sets a number of milestones for WADA’s Social Science Research Grant Program, including the most projects funded, the most countries receiving funds, and the highest lump sum of grant money ($475,000 USD).
Last week, WADA also announced that its leadership, including president Witold Banka and Director General Olivier Niggli, have met with over 60 governments around the world. Banka said of the meetings “As a former Public Authority representative on WADA’s Executive Committee, I have first-hand knowledge of the important role that Governments play within WADA’s governing structures and the global anti-doping system.” He went on to say that “It is vital that WADA leadership meets with sports ministers and other Government representatives from different regions of the world to hear their perspectives and discuss how to further strengthen the national and international legal frameworks.”
Here are some key topics of these meetings:
- Providing a progress report on WADA’s implementation of their governance reforms.
- WADA’s funding strategy, including development of new sources of funding.
- WADA’s priorities, including their development of new and innovative anti-doping technology, such as the dried blood spot technology. This also includes athlete engagement and scientific research.
- Encouraging further cooperation between WADA, National Anti-Doping Angencies, and governments.
WADA says that, from its point of view, these meeting have been “very productive and much appreciated.” State Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology from the Government of Japan, Hideki Niwa, said of his meeting with WADA, “Organizing the Olympic Games and meeting President Banka and Director General Niggli on such an occasion was a great opportunity for Japan to reinforce our support for clean sport and share this message across the world. We value very much our excellent cooperation with WADA, which allows us to develop several initiatives, such as the annual Japan Anti-Doping Agency symposium and innovative anti-doping education programs.”
Here is the list of countries WADA has held meeting with to this point:
- African Union
- Assembly of the American Sports Council
- Council of Europe
- European Commission
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
- Ministers and representatives of 21 Governments from East, South, and South-East Asia
- Ministers and representatives of Governments from the Sport Council of the Americas