The ICA believes that effective records and archives management is an essential precondition for good governance, the rule of law, administrative transparency, the preservation of mankind’s collective memory, and access to information by citizens.
The International Council on Archives (ICA) is dedicated to the effective management of records and the preservation, care and use of the world’s archival heritage through its representation of records and archive professionals across the globe.
The ICA is a neutral, non-governmental organisation, funded by its membership, which operates through the activities of that diverse membership. For over sixty years ICA has united archival institutions and practitioners across the globe to advocate for good archival management and the physical protection of recorded heritage, to produce reputable standards and best practices, and to encourage dialogue, exchange, and transmission of this knowledge and expertise across national borders. With approximately 1400 members in 199 countries and territories the Council’s ethos is to harness the cultural diversity of its membership to deliver effective solutions and a flexible, imaginative profession.
The ICA is a truly international organisation which works with decision-makers at the highest level. As well as working closely with intergovernmental bodies such as UNESCO and the Council of Europe, the ICA has close connections with other non-governmental organisations such as the International Committee of the Blue Shield.
Archives are an incredible resource. They are the documentary by-product of human activity and as such are an irreplaceable witness to past events, underpinning democracy, the identity of individuals and communities, and human rights. But they are also fragile and vulnerable. The ICA strives to protect and ensure access to archives through advocacy, setting standards, professional development, and enabling dialogue between archivists, policy makers, creators and users of archives.
ICA promotes the central role of record-keeping and archives in protecting the rights of individuals and states, and in supporting democracy and good governance, through working for the effective management of archives from the moment of their creation, the permanent preservation of archives as the documented memory of nations and societies, and the widest possible public access to that memory. It strives to build a better understanding across societies through fostering international co-operation, while respecting linguistic and cultural diversity.
ICA advocates the importance of archives and records management to policy makers, while providing opportunities for professional contact, information exchanges, research and education, and while taking a leadership role in developing best practices and standards which support records and archives professionals throughout the world. It is a central source of information on archives and the archival professional for society.
The aim of the ICA is to promote the management and use of records and archives, and the preservation of the archival heritage of humanity around the world, through the sharing of experiences, research and ideas on professional archival and records management matters, and on the management and organisation of archival institutions.