International Council on Archives (ICA)


The international council on archives (ICA), the offspring of UNESCO, was established in 1950 as a worldwide organization for the archival profession. It functions as universal organizations to promote awareness among people about the value and use of achieves. It has made remarkable contributions in the sphere of archival developments at regional, national and international levels.

Historically speaking the earliest endeavor taken for constitution the international achieves organization was in 1910, when the first international congress of archivist and librarians was held in Brussels. It had witnesses influence in many other countries, and its papers and discussions, printed in a volume of over 800 pages, are still recommended reading for students of archival administration .’

A permanent committee was set up to plan further international congresses of this type every five years, but the First World War prevented a second meeting from being held on scheduled. Subsequently the librarians withdrew from the committee, which then continued in existence only to represent the archivists.


The ICA membership is representative of 121 countries and consists of 141 national archival authorities and repositories, 405 other archival institutions, 25 national associations of archivists, and 180 individidual archivist.

Direction of ICA is ultimate responsibility of general assembly whose members, grouped into national delegations, meet once every 4 years to elect officers and to vote on major issues affecting the organizations. During the period between sessions of the general assembly, the executive committee determines policy for the ICA. The executive committee is composed of the president, two vice presidents, and 14 other members elected by general assembly, as well as of several ex-officio members. Decisions involving the implementation of policy are made by the elected officers of the ICA, collectively known as the bureau. The secretariat under an executive secretary conducts day to day business from ICA head quarters in Paris.

One way in which the ICA advances the aims of the archival profession throughout the world is by sponsoring international meetings of archivist. The ICA’s quadrennial congress brings archivist of many nations together for the purpose of exchanging professional information both formally in the discussions of scholarly papers presented at the plenary sessions, and informally, in conversation among colleagues. Each year that a congress is not convened, the ICA holds an international round table conference. Archivist in positions of professional leadership within the respective countries come to the conference to talk over common problems and, if possible, to arrive at mutually acceptable solution. The Caribbean island of Guadeloupe was the site of the 1979 round table.

In addition to organizing the International Meetings of Archivists, the ICA gives technical aid to the archival institutions of developing nations. Funds provided by UNESCO, other public bodies, and private foundations enable the ICA to send consultants to developing countries who’s Governments want either to establish a national archives’  or to improve the existing one. A consultant to a particular country, after having first made a national wide survey of the state of records preservation, make recommendations appropriate to the country’s financial and professional means, the ICA also gives assistance to developing countries by setting up regional centers for the training of archivists from those countries, and by holding seminars in the application to archival records of such techniques as microfilming and automated data processing.

The ICA conducts research in archival in archival theory theory and practice within UNESCO programme of helping nations to build information systems. Recent UNESCO research projects in which the ICA participated were the compilations of a multilingual glossary of archival terms and the construction of a model for the collection of certain archival statistics.


 Constitution of the International Council on Archives as adopted at the inaugural meeting of the provisional Council convened by UNESCO, 9-11 June 1948, and as amended by the constituent assembly on 20th August 1950 and by the general assembly’s on 16 th August 1960, 1st September 1964, 3rd September 1968 , august 1972 and September 1976.


 In accordance with the principles of the charter of the United Nations. The general objectives of the international council on Archives are as follows

To hold periodically archives congress

To establish, maintain and strengthen relations between archivist of al countries and between all institutions, professional bodies and other organization, whether publics or private, wheresoever’s located, which are concerned with the custody, organization or administration of archives

 To promote, organize and co ordinate on an international scale activities in the field of archive administration

To encourage in all countries the development of achieves and the professional training of archivists


In the interval between of the general assembly the government of of the ICA and the administrations of its business are vested in an executive committee compose of a president, two vice presidents and fourteen members all elected by the general assembly and the secretary general the deputy secretary general the treasurer and the executive secretary who are ex officio members.

The names of the candidates for the elected posts on the executive committee are submitted for the general assembly consideration by the nominating committee referred to in articles 13 and 30 of the constitution.

The president the two vice presidents and the fourteen elected members must be nationals of seventeen different countries. Moreover they must must originate in two different continents one of the them located in the developing regions of the world as defined by UNESCO


ICA publishes an international journal on archives, archives which appears at least once a year and regularly. It includes the proceedings of the international congresses. Definition of the review’s general policy. Execution of its work plan and its management are the responsibility of an editor in chief that is responsible to the executive committee and acts in accordance with council’s publications programme. The editor in chief is appointed by the president of the ICA after consultation with the ex chief is appointed by the presidents of ICA after consultation with the executive committee for a term of four years starting at the end of each international Archives congress, and is eligible for re appointment. The editor in chief is authorized to nominate for appointment by the president of ICA such editorial assistants and advisers as may be required for the publication of the journal. The editor in chief sends a written report to the executive secretary on the activities of the editorial staff two months in advance of each ordinary meeting of the executive committee’ he makes a similar report to the ordinary meeting.


The minutes. Accounts, correspondence, and all archival documents of the council and its subordinate bodies including commissions committees and working groups are preserved by the responsible officials who hand them over promptly to their successors in office. During their term in office these officials are authorized to dispose of any records of no permanent value, according to the procedure established by the executive committee. In connection with records transfers to successor officials a complete inventory in three copies is drawn up of which one copy serve as a receipt and other is attaches to the transferred archives and the third is transmitted to the executive secretary. Records that are not needed for the conduct of the current affairs of the council are passed on to the executive secretary who has custody of the archives of the council provided ever that the general assembly may authorize the transfer of any part of the archives to a respiratory of its choice to insure their permanent preservation,


 The present constitution can be amended only at ordinary meetings of the general assembly. All proposed amendments must be submitted in writing to the executive secretary that will circulate copies of them to all members at least sixty days prior to the meeting at which they will be put to the vote of the assembly. Any amendment it adopted by a two thirds majority vote of the general assembly.


To carry out the provisions of this constitution the executive committee is empowered to promulgate rules and regulations which remain in force until amended or repealed by the said committee.  The executive secretary codifies the body of bylaws within a coherent and logical framework conforming to the structure of the constitution and from time to time publishes the code by laws currently in effect for the information of the officials and members of the council.

The general assembly delegates to the executive committee the power to adjudicate by majority vote any disputes that may arise with respect to the interpretation and implementation of this constitution.


ICA is a neutral nongovernmental organization funded by its membership which operates through the activities of that diverse. for over sixty  ICA HAS  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 more than 1900 members in 199 countries and territories the councils ethos is to hamess the cultural diversity of its membership to deliver effective solutions and a flexible imaginative profession.