Witold Bańka has called on UNESCO to strengthen the International Convention Against Doping in Sport ©WADA

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Witold Bańka has called on the United Nations Education Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) to strengthen its International Convention Against Doping in Sport.

He hopes it will hold Governments with weak anti-doping policies to account in the same way that athletes and anti-doping organisations are under the World Anti-Doping Code.

Bańka revealed this at the 2023 WADA Annual Symposium in Lausanne which has attracted more than 1,000 participants and is being held under the theme of "United Toward a World of Doping-Free Sport".

"The Convention does not have an effective enforcement mechanism so violating it has virtually no consequences," he said.

"Even Russia has remained a compliant state party despite WADA revealing an extensive institutionalised doping program in that country and despite the Court of Arbitration for Sport acknowledging the active role of the Russian Government in the doping scandal.

"How is this possible?

"UNESCO must hold resistant Governments to account and protect other Governments and their athletes from those who violate the rules.

"We would like to see UNESCO's focus be directed towards improving the Convention.

"Athletes deserve a Convention that works - so I call on all Governments and National Anti-Doping Organisations to push UNESCO and their Conference of Parties to focus on the right priorities.

"We must come together to strengthen the global system that we have all worked so hard to build."

The Convention was adopted on October 19 2005 after being drafted following consultations among representatives of nearly 100 countries.

It then came into force on February 1 2007 and is now the second-most ratified of all UNESCO treaties.

It aims to help harmonise anti-doping legislation, guidelines, regulations, and rules internationally in order to provide a fair and equitable playing environment for all athletes.

Bańka also took the chance to reflect on some of WADA's achievements during his first three-year term as President before calling for unity.

"Closely collaborating with vice-president Yang Yang, our first term was busy and challenging but I believe it was also very successful," he said.

"WADA is unquestionably a more modern, independent and athlete-focused organisation than at any time since its establishment in 1999.

"This is due in large part to our 2020-2024 Strategic Plan that places athletes at the centre, and also to the major governance reforms that are delivering a shift towards greater independence and more representation for athletes and National Anti-Doping Organisations.

"What we have to do now as a global anti-doping community is to keep raising the game for athletes.

"We must innovate to find new and more effective methods, both in the areas of detection and prevention.

"For this to happen we must be united and work together for the common goal."

The Symposium is set to continue with its second and final day tomorrow in the Swiss city.