Universal Declaration on Archives - UDA



Date Added:

10 November 2011

The Universal Declaration on Archives was adopted by the 36th Session of the General Conference of UNESCO on 10th November 2011. The Declaration was developed by a special working group of the International Council on Archives and has been endorsed by the ICA as a key pillar of its outreach and advocacy strategy.

The Declaration is an important step in improving understanding and awareness of archives among the general public and key decision-makers. It is a powerful, succinct statement of the relevance of archives in modern society.



  • Defines archives to include all recorded decisions, actions and memories in all formats including paper, digital, and audio visual;
  • Recognises the uniqueness of archives in the way they provide authentic evidence of human actions;
  • Emphasises the key role of archives in ensuring administrative transparency and democratic accountability;
  • Supporting democracy and human rights, and preserving collective social memory;
  • Explains the role of archivists as skilled professionals who care for archives and provide access to them;
  • Highlights the key requirements for good archival management. 

Text of the UDA:  The UDA has been translated into many languages which are available below.

Sign the UDA Register: Declare your support for the Universal Declaration on Archives by signing the UDA online Register .

Print and web versions:  Print and web versions of the UDA poster in many languages are available below for download and use for promotion purposes.

Translate the UDA: If you wish to translate the UDA into a language not already translated, please contact roberto@ica.org first. 

For more information on ICA advocacy activities, please consult the pages dedicated to the Expert Group on Advocacy - AEG.

EvaluationTool: This tool is based on the Universal Declaration on Archives. You can use it to assess your organisation’s recordkeeping and how well it aligns with the twenty-one statements articulated in the Declaration. Learn more about the tool