The KB has taken note of IFLA's decision to organise the annual WLIC congress in 2024 in Dubai. In the Advisory Referendum organised by IFLA, we responded with a 'no' to the question of whether we support the decision to hold WLIC 2024 in Dubai.

The decisive reason for this is that IFLA has agreed that the LGBTQ+ SIG working group will not be allowed to present at this congress. Additionally, IFLA agreed that the working group's theme - the role of libraries in the acceptance and emancipation of the LGBTQ+ community - will not be discussed or considered.

By doing so, IFLA restricts freedom of expression during this congress and hinders the universal and equitable access to and exchange of information, knowledge, and ideas - one of the core values of librarianship in general and of IFLA in particular. Moreover, this not only excludes LGBTQ+ participants from active participation in topics relevant to them, but also sets a precedent for future conferences. In a time when the role of the library in providing diverse and inclusive information worldwide is increasingly under pressure, it is important for library organisations not to allow themselves to be censored and actively promote their values.

We appreciate that WLIC is being organised in a location that is also easily accessible for library professionals from Africa and the Middle East. This promotes geographical inclusion, international exchange between different cultures, and professional dialogue at a global level. However, this can only happen if freedom of expression is guaranteed for all participants during the congress. An organisation like IFLA, whose purpose is to actively support democratic processes worldwide by making information as accessible as possible to as many people as possible, should strive to give everyone a platform instead of denying it.

Furthermore, the KB is closely involved in organising the WLIC congress taking place in Rotterdam in August 2023. As is customary, at the end of a congress, the organisation is handed over to the organising committee for the following year. We will, of course, provide our collegial cooperation in this transfer.