ICOMOS (Sri Lanka), the national committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, was established in 1983 in a small scale with a membership of only five, who were involved in the state sector conservation activities. The major impetus for the foundation of the national body was given by two major sources. One of them is the launching of Cultural Triangle Project under the auspices of the UNESCO, and the other is the active participation of some of the key members in international conservation movements.
Since the inception, the organization expanded rapidly with assistance from two state sector organizations. One of them is the UNESCO-Sri Lanka Project of the Cultural Triangle for Conservation of Historic Monuments in Sri Lanka. The other is the Department of Archaeology. Professionals working for the projects, both directly and indirectly related to these two organizations, were the first to join ICOMOS, Sri Lanka and, subsequently, the students and others interested in conservation activities joined the body, making it very active non-governmental organization in Sri Lanka. The Organization has two types of memberships, the local and the international.
The rapid expansion of the organization during early 1990s was due to two major factors. One of was the widened scope for conservation works since the inception of UNESCO-Sri Lanka Project for the Conservation of Historic Monuments in Sri Lanka. The other is the election of Dr. Roland Silva, one of the pioneering members of Sri Lanka ICOMOS, as the President of the International Council of Monuments and Sites. As the climax of these developments, in a very short period of time of its establishment, the ICOMOS Sri Lanka was able to host the 10th General Assembly of ICOMOS - International in Colombo in 1993. This was the first time in the history of the Organization, a General Assembly was held outside Europe.
The activities of the National Committee of ICOMOS (Sri Lanka), both in terms of international roles played by members in their individual capacity, as well as the organization as an entity, continues to remain on a high note even after the 10th General Assembly.