Expert Group on Shared Archival Heritage – EGSAH

Terms of Reference


The Expert Group on Shared Archival Heritage was established by the ICA Programme Commission at the meeting in Seoul in September 2016. The Executive Board approved the appointment of the Chair on [date], as recommended by the Programme Commission.

Purpose and objectives

The Expert Group on Shared Archival Heritage (EGSAH) provides a forum for discussion and ultimately the resolution of issues related to archives pertaining to the history and cultural heritage of more than one community, country or region where the custody, ownership and access is unclear or in dispute. This may arise from war, military occupation, the succession of States or other adverse events.
The high-level goals of the EGSAH are:

  • to represent all sides of the discussion and understand the legal obligations surrounding the custody of access to archives along with the moral, ethical and professional responsibilities of archivists and their managers and political superiors
  • to foster an environment which recognises that these are delicate matters and encourages respectful and thorough dialogue, giving each party the opportunity to state its position and to be heard
  • to provide a balanced and professional analysis of all options for settlement
  • to find a settlement that preserves these most valuable records and makes them accessible in a way that allows all people to connect with their archival heritage, in a culturally appropriate way, freely and without impediment

The work of EGSAH includes the creation of tools and resources to assist ICA members in identifying and acknowledging records of shared archival heritage, the provision of guidance on developing and models of agreements and systems to allow access by all stakeholders in such archives and the establishment of codes and standards of professional conduct to protect themselves and ensure that the archives are appropriately managed. EGSAH also provides expert advice to PCOM, the Elected officers and the Secretary General on matters pertaining to shared archival heritage and liaises on behalf of the ICA with external partners and groups on these issues. EGSAH will work with the Expert Group on Legal Matters on issues where there is overlap, for example forgery and theft of archives and any development of resources listing law, regulation and standards relating to the management of archives.
EGSAH carries out a workplan that will be revised and updated every year for review and approval.  It will prepare a written annual report on progress and activities for the members of PCOM, to be tabled at the spring meeting of the PCOM.


The Expert Group on Shared Archival Heritage will apply for funds for its projects and submit a budget as required.


Criteria for membership is recent and extensive practical experience and/or research in the field of displaced or disputed archives or shared archival heritage, or knowledge and expertise in international law pertaining to disputed archives. Candidates for membership must submit a brief biography and a statement of interest outlining their proposed contributions to the Group.  Membership in the EGSAH will be approved by the Programme Commission.
A call for EGSAH membership will be made at the next ICA annual meeting, and at following meetings, as required to fill vacancies and ensure membership renewal.

Meetings and communication

Meetings will take place at least twice annually on the occasion of the ICA Annual Conference and at another time to be determined.   Meetings will take place in person and online according to the availability of members.