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To a bright future: A message from our Executive Director, Robbert van den Berg

Posted on Jun 30, 2021

With 122 members (and counting) spread across the world, ECPAT remains the leading global network of civil society organizations collectively focused on combating all forms of sexual exploitation of children. 

Over the last three years, during my time as Executive Director of ECPAT International, I have been honoured to witness the bold voice of our international advocacy and campaigning efforts, and our successful collaboration with so many different partners and individuals, across different sectors. 

We have all been inspired by the ground-breaking work of our members across the globe, whose efforts have often resulted in substantial changes to the lives of children. 

I’ve been impressed by the way ECPAT network members have harnessed our collective power to not only work together with those in power, but to also hold them accountable, and to put further pressure on them to make this world a safer place for children. In short, the impact and reach of our network and partners remains incalculable. Working with the Secretariat and our network members to achieve concrete successes in saving children’s lives has been extremely fulfilling. 

I am deeply grateful to ECPAT for having given me the opportunity to lead ECPAT and steer the organization through sometimes challenging times. 

Whilst much more remains to be done to move closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for children, I can, however, look back at the past three years with a clear sense of pride and achievement. Not only did we jointly manage to overcome a very challenging financial situation for the Secretariat, we have also managed to successfully implement the organization’s previous Strategic Framework 2018-2021. Building on the analysis of a very positive external evaluation about ECPAT’s global impact, sustainability and effectiveness, we have also developed a new Strategic Framework 2021-2025. This framework, approved during our recent International Assembly, has laid a solid foundation for ECPAT for the next four years. Based on this and on the progress we have made in the areas of programming, research, operations, and communications, the new leadership can build and further improve the impact of ECPAT, engaging our members across 104 countries. 

After three years, it is time for me to bid farewell to you, our Secretariat team, ECPAT members, and our Board of Trustees. 

I hope you, your colleagues, and families are all well and in good spirits—despite the unprecedented challenges that have come about as a result of the pandemic. I wish you all well, knowing that there is light at the end of what has been a most formidable tunnel. 

I wish you all the best, not only with your professional endeavours, but also in your personal lives. 

Please stay safe and keep well. 

Warm regards, thank you! 

Robbert van den Berg