PRESS RELEASE in English
THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ON ARCHIVES AND THE DEMOCRATIC QUALITY OF A COUNTRY
On Wednesday 17 July, in a plenary session, the Catalan Parliament approved the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Archives (UDA). The declaration, endorsed by the UNESCO General Conference in November 2011, recognises ‘the vital necessity of archives for supporting business efficiency, accountability and transparency, for protecting citizens' rights’. That is, only organisations, public as well as private, who have trained archivists in charge of records management from their creation, can guarantee their authenticity, reliability, integrity and use.
The UDA, furthermore, encourages social, economic and political agents to work to ensure that the management of archives is ‘valued and carried out competently by all bodies’ and that archives are made accessible to everyone and that they are used ‘to contribute to the promotion of responsible citizenship‘, and ‘for establishing individual and collective memory’.
The fact that the Catalan Parliament has decided to adopt the principles the UDA defends is, therefore, a further step in the improvement of Catalonia's democratic quality. A step that, for consistency's sake, the institutions in the various areas of Catalan government should take, following the pioneering example of Girona Provincial Council.
The Archivists-Records Managers Association of Catalonia, as promoters of this adoption, declare our satisfaction with what this means to our profession. But, essentially, we wish to highlight the clear message of commitment to the defence of the rights of the governed and the accountability of the governors that Parliament is sending to the citizens of Catalonia.
A message that we hope is not merely a rhetorical exercise. It will surely soon become regulatory in the Bill on transparency and access which is currently being drawn up. As the spirit of the UDA proclaims, only integrated implementation of records management systems and the adequate provision of archive services can really prevent opacity and restriction from becoming the rule instead of the exception.
Barcelona, 18 July 2013
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