The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has signed a far-reaching memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on February 24, 2021, the UN agency mandated to help member countries guard against the serious threats posed by drugs, crime and terrorism.

The MOU formally establishes and facilitates a mutual framework for cooperation and information-sharing between the two agencies in the broad area of sports doping.

WADA President Witold Bańka said: “Following on from the MOU that WADA signed last week with Europol, this agreement is another step in the fight against doping as we seek to protect sport against criminal forces acting within the sporting environment. WADA and the UNODC share common objectives with regard to preventing the abuse of drugs, both in sport and society at large. It makes sense, therefore, for us to collaborate towards these shared objectives.

“This MOU formalizes and enhances the existing cooperation between the two organizations and focuses primarily on the areas of research and trend analysis, forensics and transnational organized crime. I thank the UNODC for its vision and renewed commitment as it joins forces with WADA in this important way.”

UNODC Executive Director Ghada Fathi Waly said: “UNODC welcomes enhanced cooperation with WADA to share scientific expertise, strengthen early warning on new psychoactive substances and contribute UNODC research and analysis on the role of transnational organized crime in illicit drug manufacture and trafficking.”

The purpose of the MOU is to provide a framework of cooperation and understanding, and to facilitate collaboration between WADA and the UNODC to further their shared objectives. Specifically, the areas of work will include:

  • Exchanging scientific expertise and resources to enhance the analytical capability and performance of WADA-accredited laboratories;
  • Sharing data and information on new and emerging substances;
  • Exchanging information to enhance research and analysis in the area of transnational organized crime in the manufacture and trafficking of substances used in doping;
  • Raising awareness about the issues created by sports doping.

This will be achieved through regular bilateral meetings between WADA and the UNODC, and collaboration between the parties on a range of defined projects, programs and activities — all aimed at combatting doping in sport and protecting the health and wellbeing of athletes and society as a whole. These meetings will discuss technical and operational issues of mutual interest while also reviewing progress of the work carried out.

WADA already has a long-standing record of cooperation with the UNODC. In particular, every year, the two organizations jointly host the International Conference on Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS), in conjunction with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the International Society for the Study of Emerging Drugs, the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom, and the Centre for Forensic Science Research and Education based in the United States.