Idrettsministerkonferansen i Budapest 2016

Kulturministerens åpningsinnlegg om antidoping,  29. november 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored and proud to be here, both as the Norwegian Minister of sports and as the newly elected vice president of WADA.

Sports plays a vital role in people's lives. Also in my life, spending several hours a week at the football pitch with my two young boys. 

Great sporting events and achievements make us proud and happy, both as individuals and as nations. They bring us together. Sports greatly influences our health and our quality of life.

That is why we feel so bad when doping occur.

In Norway, we have experienced two doping cases recently. They involve two of our most popular and beloved skiing athletes. However, no matter how painful these cases are for both athletes and the public, we must address them properly and learn from them.

That is why we decline to support sporting events, which do not take doping controls seriously enough. As a Minister of sports it is important for me uphold this principle, no matter how popular the events are. As a government, we have a responsibility to make sure the international anti-doping code is complied. 

Sport is built on positive values. We trust sports to be clean, fair and transparent. Unfortunately, these values face threats and challenges who can harm the integrity and reputation of sports.

Therefore, being a Minister for sports is not only promoting fun and games. This job also involves a very serious responsibility. It is our job to help strengthen these values as best we can.

One of the major threats to our values is doping. I am strongly committed to the global fight against doping in sports. I do so with the best interests of clean athletes at heart. We should not only go after the cheaters, but also have the protection of clean athletes in mind. This is my motivation for taking up the position of Vice President of WADA.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to the member states of the Council of Europe for entrusting me with your nomination.

Since 1999, the international fight against doping has made significant progress. We have WADA’s wise guidance and coordination to thank for it.

However, during the last year we have witnessed a number of serious doping violations in international sports. These disturbing events have put the credibility of the existing anti-doping system into question.

The worldwide fight against doping is at a crossroad. We need to restore confidence in the integrity of the international anti-doping work. Governments, public authorities and the sports movements share this responsibility. We must step up our co-operation.

Recently, the representatives of the public authorities in the Executive Committee and the Foundation Board of WADA met in London. This was an encouraging start. I am happy to note that the Council of Europe will provide the necessary administrative and secretarial assistance to facilitate this co-ordination.

More than ever, we need a strong WADA, based on equal partnership between the public authorities and the sports movements. We need to strengthen WADA's ability to respond to current and emerging challenges in the anti-doping field.

We must also safeguard WADA's independence as the only global regulator responsible for standard-setting and monitoring. This role must not be compromised. It is also crucial that WADA has the capacity and the resources it needs to do its job efficiently.

A week ago, the WADA Foundation Board approved a series of recommendations that will equip WADA for the future. These range from compliance and governance, to investigations and whistleblowing. Most notably, the Foundation Board endorsed a graded sanctioning framework for those who do not comply with the World Anti-Doping Code. This new framework should include a system of meaningful, predictable and proportionate sanctions.

It is also worth noting that the Foundation Board approved WADA’s Whistleblower Program. The Program will take effect in early 2017. For the first time, WADA formalizes the process for protecting whistleblowers.

Finally, I would like to stress an issue that is very important to me:
We must base the worldwide fight against doping on the principles of good governance. If not, the fight will be ineffective.

Good governance includes independence and impartiality in doping control, in result management, and in disciplinary procedures. The work of WADA must be transparent, accountable, and done with respect for human rights and the rule of law. The WADA governance system should be strengthened to ensure it is operating in line with these principles.

To conclude;
1) We need to restore confidence in international sports.
2) We must work harder to protect clean athletes.

I look forward to contribute to WADA’s mission of preserving the integrity of sports. The integrity of sport and the fight against doping are key to sports' very future.

The anti-doping effort should not work behind closed doors. WADA, the WORLD Anti-Doping Agency, will share our visions and communicate with people all around the world. Only this way, we can get the public's support in a competition we can't afford to lose: The fight for the clean athlete.

WADA should play a major role in the international community. As Vice President, I will work to make our organization equipped to do so. WADA should have all the tools necessary to keep the sport we all love clean.

Thank you for your attention.