Historical Background

Printer-friendly versionSend by email

The International Sericultural Commission is an inter-governmental organization engaged in the development of sericulture and silk industry in the world.  The ISC has been registered with United Nations vide Reg. No.10418. 

The history of ISC dates back to June 1948, when the VII International Sericultural Congress was held at Alès, France, with the chief aim of launching the world-wide development of sericulture after the Second World War. The Congress decided to organize international meetings on sericulture regularly and created the “Permanent Commission of International Sericultural Congresses”.

Subsequently, in 1955, the first International Technical Sericultural Conference met in Alès, France, adopted the proposal of transforming “the Permanent Commission of International Sericultural Congresses” into an inter-governmental organization, the “International Sericultural Commission” (ISC).

The text of the Convention, which later adopted as the Statute, was formulated by the lawyers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France, and presented for signature to the countries from 1 July, 1957 to 31 December, 1957. Following this, the International Sericultural Commission (ISC) was institutionalized on 8th August 1960, after ratification of the Instituting Convention, initially by four Member Countries namely; France, India, Romania and Yugoslavia.

The French Foreign Ministry act as the ‘Depository’ of the ISC Statute and related documents since its institution in 1960.  The ISC has now comprises of three organs namely; the Conference, the Executive Committee and the Secretariat General.  

Click here to view the original Convention Text

Click here to view the Convention of Institution of ISC published in the “Journal Officiel” of 1st February, 1962

The aims of the International Sericultural Commission as defined in the Convention are:-

to encourage and promote the development and improvement from the technical, scientific and economic points of view, of all the activities dealing with sericulture in general (including moriculture, egg production, sericulture and raw silk reeling).”


The Secretary Generals of ISC, since inception are as follows:

Mr André SCHENK, France

8th August 1960 to December 31, 1979

Dr. Henri BOUVIER, France

1980 to 1990

Dr. Gerard CHAVANCY, France

1990 to 2011

Mr. Christian FRESQUET, France


Ms. Ishita Roy, India.

2013 to 2015

Dr. H. Nagesh Prabhu, India

2015 to 2017

Mr.R.R. Okhandiar, India



The means through which the aims set will be reached are specified in the Convention instituting the ISC.  Over the years, the activities of the ISC have been revised based on emerging problems and changed requirements. These have been separately indicated under the CORE ACTIVITY.  However, the activities of the ISC originally enshrined in the convention are briefly given below:

A. Exchange of information between Member Countries

Since its inception, the Member Countries were engaged in exchange of information and knowledge for the development of sericulture and silk industry in their respective countries. This is a continuous and ongoing process. 

B. The publishing of periodical bulletin of reports on meetings and of all other specialized publications

During the year 1948, the Governing Body of the International Sericultural Congress published a journal “La Revue du Ver à soie – Journal of Silkworms” to facilitate dissemination of sericultural news at the scientific, technical and economic levels.  The publication of this Journal was taken over by ISC after its institution in 1960. In 1979, the Journal started to be issued under a new name; “SERICOLOGIA” with new layout and appearance.  The Journal published technical as well as scientific original papers, and a major bibliography reporting of other publications on sericulture and bacology.

This apart, ISC published the Proceedings of previously held International Congresses, Directory of Sericulture and Bacology, technical reports, etc.

C. General information through the setting-up of a Sericultural Documentation Centre

A major sericultural documentation centre was set up, thanks to the contributions of the French libraries and Sericultural Stations worldwide.  It is complimented each year with books on sericulture and specialized journals published world-wide.  Presently, more than 10,000 index cards from the period of 18th Century are contained in the documentation centre, which is located in the ISC Head Quarters.

D. Organization of international meetings dealing with sericultural science

The glorious history of International Sericultural Congresses dates back to 1870, when the 1st International Congress on Sericulture was held at Goritez, Italy in 1870.  The VII Congress held at Ales, France during 1948 provided the platform for declaring the formulation of International Sericultural Congress.  Since its inception during 1960, ISC has taken over the onerous task of organizing International Congresseses on sericultural science and allied activities.  In its long history of 143 years, 22 International Sericultural Congresses were held in different parts of the world.  

E. Carrying-out of research and investigations

The ISC contributed to the development of research on sericultural science through the relations it has established with various sericultural institutes, laboratories and particularly through the publication of the first edition of a “Worldwide Directory of Sericulture and Bacology” in 1988.  A new and expanded edition of the Directory was published in 2011. The institutes or laboratories working on silkworm in 24 countries in the world are listed in this Directory.

F. Development and co-ordination of work contributing to making the silkworm or any other sericigenous insect a “biological model”

It has been acknowledged worldwide that since the publication of the text instituting the ISC Convention, fundamental research work using silkworm as a biological model multiplied the world over.  Due to the collaboration and cooperation through these works, significant and useful outputs were generated in different parts of the world thereby benefitted the industrial, pharmaceutical and cosmetic sectors.  There are numerous possibilities still exist for the usage of silkworm in the areas of molecular biology, genetics and biotechnology. The genome sequence of Bombyx mori was completed in 2004 by Japanese and Chinese teams with the active association of ISC.

G. Collaboration with other organisations, whose interest and functions are related to   that of ISC

The ISC was particularly linked with the International Silk Association (ISA), a non-governmental organization, comprising members and organizations associated with silk industry and the silk manufacturers.  After the closing of ISA in 2004, the ISC has been attending to its mandates, albeit in a limited manner.  As a prelude to enhance the activities of the erstwhile ISA, a decision was taken during the XXII ISC Conference held at New Delhi, India on 23rd February, 2013 to introduce a new session namely, "Silk processing, trading and marketing" in the ISC Congress.  This session has given the mandate of discussing and deliberating issues concerning all the activities on silk processing, import, export, consumption, demand, marketing and promotion.

ISC has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SAARC Agriculture Centre (SAC), Dhaka and African-Asian Rural Development Organozation (AARDO), New Delhi for cooperation to develop sericulture and silk industry in their Member Countries. Previleged relationships were established with the United Nations "Food and Agricultural Organization" (FAO). Relationships were also established with the "Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific" (ESCAP), the "United Nations Conference on Trade & Development" (UNCTAD), the "United Nations Development Project" (UNDP), the "United Nations for Industrial Development Organization" (UNIDO), the "United Nations Education Science and Culture Organization" (UNESCO), the "European Union", the "International Trade Center", the "World Bank", etc .

H. Associate Members of the ISC

During the ISC Conference held in Bangalore in 1984, Associate Membership was created with the objective of bringing more institutions for the development of sericulture and silk industry in the world.  At present, there are 31 Provincial Governments, R&D Institututions, Universities, Companies and individuals are Associate Members of the Commission.


Since its inception during 1960, the Seat of ISC was located at four different places:-

  Place Period
1 Sericultural Research Station, Ales, France 1960 - 1976
2 La Mulatiere, Lyon, France  1976 - 2010
3 Bellecardie, Lyon, France 2011 - 2012
4 Bangalore, India 2013 onwards

1st ISC HQs, Lyon, France


ISC Headquarters, Bangalore, INDIA