ICOM’s Partners

ICOM always appealed to its partners to fully achieve its mission. These partners include NGOs, States, foundations or federations, that collaborate with ICOM to ensure the development of its activities in favour of museums worldwide.

Formal Relations Partners

ICOM has maintained formal relations with UNESCO since 1946. This is the highest level of association with the organisation. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) is a specialised institution from the United Nations system.

On April 11, 2000, ICOM and INTERPOL signed an official cooperation agreement on the fight against the illicit traffic of cultural goods. INTERPOL was created in 1923. It is an international organisation whose mission is to promote the international police cooperation.

World Customs Organisation (WCO)
ICOM has been working with the WCO since 2000 on questions relating to the control and the fight against the illicit traffic of cultural goods. A cooperation memorandum of understanding was signed by the two parties on January 25, 2000 in Brussels. The WCO specialises in customs matters.

ECOSOC is one of ICOM’s partners for matters relating to the transnational traffic management. The Economic and Social Council, more generally called ECOSOC is the main coordinating body of the economic and social activities of the UN.

ICOM and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialised agency within the United Nations, work together closely and continuously on the Art and Cultural Heritage Mediation programme. The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre strongly supports the programme by providing expertise in Alternative Dispute Resolution as well as the administrative support of its Secretariat.

Regional Specialised Agency

Since 2002, ICOM and ALECSO (the Arab League Educational Cultural and Scientific Organization) have been working together on themes related to the protection and promotion of the museum heritage of the region. ALECSO works in the framework of the League of Arab States and deals with the coordination and the promotion of various activities related to education, culture and sciences within the Arab World.

The Intergovernmental Organisations

ICOM and ICCROM work together on cultural heritage emergency programmes in periods of conflicts or natural disasters. ICCROM is an intergovernmental organisation dedicated to the conservation of cultural heritage.

ICOM works with ONUDC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) in the framework of its fight against illicit traffic. ONUDC coordinates all the United Nations’ activities in terms of drug control and provides an efficient leadership for the fulfilment of these activities.

The Non-Governmental Organisations

ICOM sits at the International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) which is an international organisation that brings together the museum, archive, library, monuments and historical site professionals. It contributes to the protection of global cultural heritage in war or natural disaster periods.

ICOM and ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) sit at the International Council of the Blue Shield. ICOMOS works for the protection of monuments and historical sites worldwide.

ICOM and ICA (International Council on Archives) sit at the International Council of the Blue Shield. ICA’s mission is to promote protection and access to archives worldwide, thanks to international cooperation.

ICOM and IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) sit at the International Council of the Blue Shield. IFLA represents the interests of libraries, information services and their users.

ICOM and CCAAA (Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archive Associations) sit at the International Council of the Blue Shield. CCAAA is an association of organisations whose mission is to support the professional activities in the field of audiovisual archives.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Lisbon (Portugal) on May 21, 2010 between ICOM and the WFFM (World Federation of Friends of Museums). The two organisations have maintained close relations for many years, particularly for the elaboration of the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums. The WFFM is an organisation that gathers and supports all the friends of museums worldwide.


ICOM and IBA (International Bar Association) cooperate on matters related to intellectual property and tangible and intangible heritage. The International Bar Association is an international network made up of lawyers whose goals are the exchange of information between the various national legal associations, the protection of the legal system independence and the right of lawyers to practice freely.