Sweden has become the first country to ratify the International Convention Against Doping in Sport, adopted unanimously by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in October 2005.
UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura welcomed Sweden's rapid response to the new Convention, which will come into force one month after 30 countries have ratified it and called on other States to follow suit.
"Sweden deposited its instruments of ratification on the 9th of November, less than one month after its adoption. A number of other countries have signalled their intention to ratify the Convention as quickly as possible, but I would urge all of UNESCO's Member States to do so," Mr. Matsuura said.
"It would be ideal if the Convention could enter into force in time for the Winter Olympics in Turin next February," he added.
The Convention provides governments with a legal framework to harmonize international efforts in the fight against a scourge that flouts the ethical and social values of sport and threatens the health of athletes.
It commits the States Parties to adopt measures in line with the principles stated in the World Anti-Doping Code of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), adopted during the World Conference on Doping in Sport held in Copenhagen in2003.
However, the new instrument goes beyond uniform testing and sanctions, UNESCO said. It calls upon States Parties to "undertake, within their means, to support, devise or implement education and training programs on anti-doping" in order to raise public awareness of the negative effects of doping.