Decentralised Development Cooperation

Under the leadership of President Coe, the World Athletics Development Programme has evolved from a centralised to a decentralised concept. The Area Associations were considered best placed to determine development policy in their respective regions.

The concept of a Decentralised Development Cooperation is to share the task of Athletics Development, by coordinating development activities in a strategic way, by considering the most cost-efficient solutions for the region and by ultimately achieving tailor made solutions for the Member Federations.

The long-term vision of the Decentralised Development Cooperation includes but is not limited to:

  • Competent key players in athletics
  • Increased participation in athletics
  • Engaged athletics community
  • Adequate infrastructure for athletics
  • Effective / efficient administration of athletics

In order to achieve these goals, it is important to coordinate all efforts within an agreed strategic framework. This will allow World Athletics to set the right priorities, allocate resources effectively and make development measurable. The strategic framework must consist of consolidated Development Plans for all key players in development: Member Federations, Area Associations and World Athletics.


World Athletics has launched an eLearning platform for its stakeholders, key personnel and various interest groups. Our vision is that by creating and sharing content via eLearning, we stimulate engagement in athletics and improve the competencies of athletics key stakeholders.

World Athletics eLearning platform



It is one of World Athletics responsibilities to foster coach education around the world and the World Athletics Coach Education and Certification System (CECS) is operated in more than 150 Member Federations. World Athletics Headquarters is responsible for the its structure, the provision of up-to-date content, education and certification of lecturers as well as administration of the diplomas. Currently, the CECS is under review and will be re-launched in 2020.


Recognising that the resources and effort involved in developing a technical officials educational programme may be beyond capabilities on a national level, World Athletics established a Technical Officials Education and Certification System (TOECS) which is available as a service to Member Federations that would like to make use of it.

The goal of the TOECS is to improve the level of athletics officiating all over the world, which means creating a basic level of officiating skills where nothing or only a grass roots situation exists and improving the level of officiating skills where a system is already in place.

The operation of the TOECS is co-ordinated by the World Athletics Development Department and the Area Associations. The TOECS features standard learning materials and specifically trained lecturers for the following three levels of courses:

Race walking judges

World Athletics created an educational system called Race Walking Judges Education and Certification System (RWJECS) with the purpose of providing participants with the theoretical and practical training required to make them capable of officiating at international competitions.


Conferences, Symposiums and Seminars have been organised under the supervision of World Athletics since 1990. The latest Conferences were held during the WA Championships with a keynote presentation followed by a case study with a coach of a medallist athlete.

Kids Athletics

Kids’ Athletics is one of the biggest grassroots development programmes in the world of sports. Created in 2005, IAAF Kids' Athletics has been implemented in 134 Member Federations and has reached an estimated cumulative audience of more than 13 million children. KA is under review and will be re-launched in 2020.

World Athletics research projects

World Athletics, with help from the IAF (International Athletics Foundation), has in the past initiated several scientific projects in the areas of biomechanics, coaching and development. Final reports were produced from these projects, as a resource for further information and as a documentation of the projects themselves.

New Studies in Athletics

NSA was launched in 1986 and spanned 32 years. The last publication was volume 32/2017. It was a unique journal for professionals working in athletics and a bridge between science and academia, on the one hand, and the practical work of operating and developing the sport, on the other. You can access the NSA Archive here.