2019 WADA Symposium

The WADA Symposium, which is the leading fixture on the anti-doping calendar, gathered this year close to 900 delegates from the global anti-doping community for two days of presentations, interviews, panel discussions, practical workshops and networking sessions. Athlete representatives, International Sports Federations, government representatives, National and Regional Anti-Doping Organizations, Major Event Organizers, WADA-accredited laboratories and Athlete Passport Management Units, as well as international media and other stakeholders, gathered on 13 and 14 March under the theme “Towards 2021 – Navigating the Future Together”.

Artem Buerov, ICSD Doping Control Officer, attended the 2019 WADA Annual Symposium.

2021 will be the year when the latest revised and updated Code comes into effect and the world’s anti-doping stakeholders are currently finalizing the document in time for its ratification at the fifth World Conference on Doping in Sport, which will take place in November in Katowice, Poland. In addition, the Code’s various International Standards, including those related to results management, education, compliance, testing and investigations, therapeutic use exemptions, laboratories and privacy protection were discussed at length during the Symposium.

The keynote address by WADA President Sir Craig Reedie on day one, entitled “Unity Will Be Our Strength”, set the tone for the Symposium as he reflected on the Russian doping scandal and on the progress made since the Executive Committee (ExCo) decision in September 2018 to reinstate the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) as compliant with the Code. Sir Craig noted that the all-important data recovered from the Moscow Laboratory in January this year, once authenticated, would be used to bring more cheats to justice for the good of clean sport while exonerating others. He also pointed out that the Russian scandal had prompted the establishment of new priorities and led to significant changes that had already equipped the Agency to better navigate situations of non-compliance with the Code, including the coming into force on 1 April 2018 of the International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS), which has considerably strengthened WADA’s legal framework around cases of non-compliance.

WADA Director General, Olivier Niggli, took delegates through WADA’s strategic priorities, which in addition to those outlined by Sir Craig, included in particular: harmonising Code rules via the 2021 Code Review and simultaneous review of the International Standards; the implementation of wide-ranging governance reforms, increasing scientific and social science research; enhancing education, most notably through the development of an International Standard for Education; capacity building of Anti-Doping Organisations; and the ongoing overhaul of WADA’s Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS).