Universal Declaration on Archives - UDA

Let us celebrate the 10th anniversary of the UDA on 10 November 2021!

The Universal Declaration on Archives was initiated by the International Council on Archives and adopted in Paris by the UNESCO on the 10th of November 2011.

UNESCO acknowledges the important role that archives play in support of the democratic rights of citizens,

1. Congratulates the International Council on Archives on its work in drawing up the Universal Declaration on Archives;

2. Endorses the Universal Declaration on Archives as developed and adopted by the International Council on Archives;

3. Encourages Member States to be guided by the principles set out in the Universal Declaration on Archives when planning and implementing future strategies and programmes nationally.

The document has been translated into many languages and advocates the preservation and universal accessibility of the world’s documentary heritage.  Archives secure human rights, establish a collective memory and underpin accountable and transparent governments.

The Declaration is a call to action and seeks engagement in archival issues by governments, decision makers and the general public. 

The International Council on Archives proposes that you should:

  1. download the document in your own language
  2. post it in your office or common area of your institution and
  3. sign the Declaration online Register.   

It is essential to know the foundation text of our profession and to support archives for a better future. 

We count on you to share the Declaration and the link to the Register on your social networks and listservs.

Almost 5,000 people have given their support for the UDA by signing the Register and the ICA strongly urges you to do the same.
Let’s increase that number to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the UDA on 10 November 2021!

The first version of the Declaration was written by archivists in Québec in 2007. The ICA Section of Professional Associations (SPA), together with an international working group, developed the text for a universal audience, taking into account the differences in language, culture and archival tradition. SPA also pressed vigorously for its adoption by ICA as a whole. It generated many stimulating debates in ICA, before it obtained unanimous approval at the AGM in Oslo in September 2010.

Since then the international archival community has worked tirelessly to have the Declaration adopted by UNESCO. Today’s decision is the culmination of intense efforts led by Papa Momar Diop, the Ambassador of Senegal at UNESCO and the former National Archivist of Senegal. He has been ably supported by Jens Boel, Head Archivist at UNESCO, and activists in the ICA network throughout the world.

The challenge now is to use the Declaration to maximum effect, so that archives shake off outdated perceptions of their role and finally take their rightful place as a major player at heart of public administration and the center of social memory.

Click here to find the Universal Declaration on Archives in more than 40 languages !

Click here to see the UNESCO report (Debate 9)