Paris, 30th October, 2015 (WAM) – The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) hosted the fifth session of the International Convention against Doping in Sport at its headquarters in Paris today, with the theme of educating young sportspersons about the danger of using prohibited substances.

“Prevention is better than cure,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, stressing that while a great deal had been achieved in the last decade, advocacy work must continue to educate and enforce towards fulfilling the shared ambition of eradicating doping from sport worldwide.

“The only possible way to fight doping effectively is through education,” she declared in a statement ahead of the two-day event, which wraps up tomorrow.

More than 250 representatives of governments and the sporting industry will discuss anti-doping challenges over the two day conference, in line with the International Convention against Doping in Sport at a time of increasing concern about the use of performance enhancing drugs.

The Convention, which was adopted in 2005, is based on the World Anti-Doping Code, where States commit to restrict trafficking in doping substances; apply common practices to control use by athletes in competitions; improve detection techniques; and support education and deterrence.

UNESCO, which also administers a $1.8 million Fund for the elimination of doping in sport, said in a press release that the use of performance enhancing substances not only caused serious health problems but also undermined fairness and ethics in sport.

The Fund, which was set up in 2008, aims to help countries enforce the Convention and strengthen anti-doping capacity and educate about the dangers of doping.

UNESCO’s partners at the Convention include the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Council of Europe and Interpol.

UNESCO is working with the Brazilian Anti-Doping Authority ahead of the 2016 Olympics and Paralympic Games in Rio in order to strengthen its fight against doping in sport through education, prevention and testing and to preserve the beauty of high performance competition.