ECF Secretary General Bernhard Ensink To Say Farewell in May 2019
BRUSSELS, Belgium – Secretary General Dr. Bernhard Ensink is set to leave the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) having served the organisation for over 12 years. He will officially step down at General Assembly Meeting in May 2019, but will hand over all his tasks during the handover period in the 1st quarter of 2019.
Bernhard Ensink was appointed as ECF Secretary General in 2006 having spent 7 years as Director of the Dutch Cyclists’ Association, Fietsersbond. He re-established an office in Brussels for ECF thus giving an enormous boost to professional advocacy for cycling at a European level.
Ensink at the helm
Over the following 12 years with Ensink at the helm – and while working closely with the ECF President, the board and the staff team – ECF grew into a federation with 76 member organisations and a staff of over 20 committed professionals. The organization grew steadily under the financial support of ECF’s national member organisations, the European Commission and donations from the members of ECF’s Cycling Industry Club.
One of the highlights in Ensink’s ECF career was the handover of an EU Cycling Strategy to EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulcat Velo-city 2017 Arnhem-Nijmegen in the Netherlands, his home country. The EU Cycling Strategy was developed collectively by ECF’s staff, members and its wider expert networks, and it articulated the integral approach of ECF’s cycling advocacy by embracing all of the relevant policy areas such as infrastructure, vehicle regulation, multimodal & intelligent transport systems and the need for a fiscal level playing field for cycling.
The Velo-city conferenceseries evolved from a biennial European series to the annual global cycling summit which now regularly attracts over 1500 delegates. Another ECF project, EuroVelo– the European Cycle Route Network, grew to what it is now: an exemplary collaboration of many stakeholders aimed at boosting sustainable transport and tourism throughout the Continent of Europe. With financial support of the cycling industry, ECF’s Leadership Programme succeeded in supporting the development of smaller ECF member groups into more professional advocacy organisations in 17 European countries. This has resulted in everyday cycling moving up the political agenda at a national level throughout Europe.
Leader in international cycling advocacy
Ensink also played an important role in creating global acknowledgement of ECF as the leader in international cycling advocacy. ECF started with the Velo-city2010 Copenhagen to brand its conference series as the annual globalcycling summit and launched the “Cities for Cyclists” network of municipalities and regions, and the “Scientists for Cycling” academic network. During these years ECF joined the partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT)and launched at the Velo-city2014 Adelaide the initiative “World Cycling Alliance”, with Ensink as Secretary General. Furthermore, ECF delivered in 2015 the voluntary commitment “Cycling delivers on the Global Goals” to the UN, signed in 2014 a Memorandum of Understanding with UN-Habitat, and lobbied successfully for a strong incorporation of cycling into the UN New Urban Agenda (Habitat III). Additionally, ECF succeeded in securing a UN decision to have a nominated annual World Bicycle Day (3 June), and became a member of the World Bank’s initiative “Sustainable Mobility for All” (Sum4All).
Important transitions in 2019
For ECF, 2019 will be a year of important transitions and fresh growth: ECF’s network “World Cycling Alliance” will advance in a new legal form and ECF will partner from 2019 with the cycling industry in a new and exciting guise following the founding by the leading cycling companies of Cycling Industries Europe. In 2019 ECF will develop a new strategy, building on its Vision 2030 adopted at its AGM in Milan in 2018. This will set out how ECF will effect change so as to grow cycling use throughout Europe for all, including all ages and with a gender balance. It is an exciting year ahead!
Looking forward to new opportunities
On the announcement of his leave, Ensink commented “I am proud of my contribution to the development of ECF and international cycling advocacy. ECF’s board and I concluded that it’s time for a change now after 12 exciting years – for ECF and for me. I am looking forward to new opportunities where I can offer my skills, experience and knowledge I developed as deputy mayor and CEO of NGOson regional, national and international levels. ”
According to Christophe Najdovski, President of the ECF, “Ensink has given a tremendous boost to the ECF, making ECF a leading advocacy organization in Europe and a valuable interlocutor with the European institutions”.