Top sports officials from 89 countries have resolved most of the remaining questions for a preliminary international convention against doping to be submitted for adoption by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in October. “The state of progress of the drafting of the convention and the political will demonstrated by Member States help us nurture the hope that this new legal instrument may be ratified in time for the Winter Olympics of 2006 in Turin, Italy, although this is an extremely tight deadline,” UNESCO Assistant Director-General Françoise Rivière said yesterday at the end of the ministerial meeting in Athens, Greece. “More than a repressive instrument, this text will give education and information the prominence they deserve… about the ill-effects of doping in both physical and ethical terms.” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura told the opening session of the Fourth International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Sport and Physical Education (MINEPS IV).The three-day meeting, which brought together some 270 representatives from 89 countries, among them 40 ministers, adopted the Athens Declaration undertaking to “implement coherent policies and take specific measures for the development of physical education.” The consensus reached on most of the remaining questions for the Draft International Convention Against Doping in Sport should enable experts meeting in Paris in January to finalize the preliminary text for adoption by the 33rd session of UNESCO’s General Conference in October, the agency said. “Urgency and determination to take action were the two overriding sentiments that marked the debates at MINEPS IV, whether on the quality of physical education and the practice of sport, or the reaffirmation of ladies’ participation, and the need to combat doping,” Ms. Rivière said. The idea of the new legal instrument was launched during a ministerial round-table meeting at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in January, 2003, bringing together 360 participants from 103 countries.