Report on Seminar Managing Municipal Archives in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Journalists and the public alike rejoiced at the enactment of the 2016 Right to Information Act in Sri Lanka – legislation which seemingly heralded a new age of government transparency in the island. However, government departments were less enthusiastic. It is not the access the general public has to government records that has them in a quandary but the actual physical storage of said records. In most government departments the desperate scramble to find the space somewhere to store documents has created a very big dilemma indeed.

A two-day conference on ‘Managing Municipal Archives’ hosted by the Department of National Archives and co-sponsored by the International Council on Archives (ICA) held in August helped throw up possible solutions. This seminar on record management was attended by senior officials from Municipal Councils, Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas. Conducted by experienced international archivists Dr. Bart Ballaux and Laura Taylor, it focused on what needs to be done.