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Archivists Stress Importance of Archives for Information Society

26-11-2002 ()
"Records and archives are at the heart of the information society" declared national archivists and presidents of national professional associations, members of the International Council on Archives (ICA), when they recently met in Marseille, on the occasion of the XXXVIth International Council of the Round Table on Archives (CITRA).
They urged their governments to press their delegates to the World Summit on the Information Society to ensure that the necessity for the long term preservation and accessibility of archives is taken into account in the final declaration and plan of action that will be adopted by the World Summit;

The full text of the Resolution adopted on the occasion of the XXXVIth International Council of the Round Table on Archives (CITRA) is published here below.


Resolutions of the Delegates Meeting
Marseille, 15 November 2002

The national archivists and presidents of national professional associations, members of the International Council on Archives (ICA), meeting in Marseille from 13 to 15 November 2002 on the occasion of the XXXVIth International Council of the Round Table on Archives (CITRA)

1.1
Recalling that records and archives are at the heart of the information society,
Disturbed at their vulnerability in the electronic environment and desiring to ensure their preservation for future generations,
Concerned to reduce the digital divide between rich and poor countries and within societies,
Recalling the recommendations adopted in the consultation organised in Beijing in May 2002, by the ICA and UNESCO, to prepare the World Summit on the Information Society which will take place in Geneva in December 2003,
Urge their governments to press their delegates to the World Summit on the Information Society to ensure that the necessity for the long term preservation and accessibility of archives is taken into account in the final declaration and plan of action that will be adopted by the World Summit;

1.2
Considering the pressing demand of victims of former repressive regimes and the needs of researchers,
Encourage governments of countries in democratic transition to start or actively continue the process of liberalizing access to archives;

1.3
Considering the efforts of the Latin American countries towards the construction of a fair society and reconciliation in the region, as well as the legitimacy of demands for access to police records concerning citizens who were victims of abuse,
Recommend that UNESCO and ICA develop a regional programme for identification and preservation of police records in Latin America,
Invite the governments of the countries concerned to have registers and files of police services, commissariats and hospitals, relating to the periods of repression, transferred to the State Archives;

1.4
Noting the work of the forum of Commonwealth national archivists and archival educators held in South Africa in September 2002,
Support all initiatives for evidence-based governance in the electronic era;

2.1
Considering the threats to the preservation of ancient manuscripts of Africa,
Support the formation of pan-African organisations to protect these documents and encourage African governments to pass legislation to ensure such protection;

2.2
Recommend that authorities place archives and records services in a strategic position within their organisational structure to ensure they have sufficient authority and capacity to intervene efficiently across the organisation, to the benefit of records’ creators;

2.3
Encourage public administrations and national archives to ensure that appropriate training is given to administrators and creators of records at all levels of responsibility, in order to promote sound records management in the public sector;

2.4
Considering the importance of raising awareness of the function of archives in society among young people, as future citizens,
Ask the national archives, in partnership with ministries responsible for education, to establish education programmes or services for schools;

3.1
Considering the need to promote the image of archives and their services in public opinion,
Invite the ICA to organise an annual International Day on Archives, starting from 2004;

3.2
Invite ICA members to develop means to give people, whose families experienced involuntary displacement or emigrated, access to information on their roots;

3.3
Considering the massive increase of records gathered by human rights organisations at an international level, and their historical, social and educational value for the international community,
Recommend that ICA encourage the processing, preservation and accessibility of these records;

4.1
Furthermore, invite the Executive Committee of ICA to report on the progress achieved, at the XXXVIIth session of the CITRA in 2003;

4.2
Record their appreciation to the colleagues whose contribution enabled stimulating professional debates;

4.3
Express their deepest gratitude to the French Government, the territorial and local authorities, the Director of the Archives of France and her colleagues for their generous hospitality, their efficiency and successful organisation of the meeting.
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