A Journey of Growth and Enrichment: Ivan Fuentetaja Reflects on His One-Year Stint with ADB-CDIA

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“It has not been an easy road,” admitted Ivan Fuentetaja, who joined ADB-CDIA in March 2023 as a secondee to support its work on livable cities. “But looking back after one year, it has been a rewarding and enriching journey.”

As an Urban Development Specialist, Ivan performed tasks related to project management, outreach, knowledge, and other operational aspects to enhance the quality of ADB’s assistance to cities in Asia and the Pacific.

“While ADB-CDIA has provided me with the platform to contribute to sustainable development in the region, it has also made me realize the importance and immensity of our work, which goes beyond technical solutions to entail connecting with communities, understanding their needs, and empowering them to take a proactive role in development,” said Ivan.

He came to ADB through its secondment agreement with ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones (ICEX) under Spain’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Enterprise. The Spanish Government is one of ADB-CDIA’s financing partners with a €5 million contribution supporting the development of inclusive, climate-resilient, and sustainable infrastructure projects in the region.

“Coming to an institution like ADB where thousands of people from various cultures and nationalities work, was overwhelming at first,” said Ivan. “What made my adjustment rewarding was the incredible sense of camaraderie that I felt everywhere, especially from my ADB-CDIA colleagues who made me feel part of the team from day one.”

For Ivan, each day has brought him new challenges, whether it was dealing with the complexities of project management or navigating the nuances of stakeholder engagement.

“My time at ADB-CDIA has surpassed all my expectations,” said Ivan. “When I was interviewed a year ago, I knew I would be contributing to some impactful projects, but never did I imagine the profound personal and professional growth that would come from working alongside a diverse and talented team.”

Through his experience, he has learned invaluable lessons about the complexities of urban development in Asia and the Pacific. He was made to understand the importance of a comprehensive approach to urban planning and development that considers social, economic, and environmental factors; and the necessity of innovative solutions to effectively address the multiple, interlinked challenges that cities face.

“These lessons have not only helped me grow professionally by expanding my knowledge in advocating for sustainable development; they have also facilitated my personal growth with now having a deeper sense of responsibility toward creating sustainable communities,” said Ivan. “How crucial our work is, with our efforts intended to make a real impact on the lives of millions of people,” he added.

As Ivan is nearing the completion of his secondment assignment, he is filled with gratitude to those who have made his ADB-CDIA journey possible.

First, to the Spanish Government for all the support he has received over the past three years.

“From the initial training in Madrid and the enriching experiences at the Economic and Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy in Manila to my tenure at ADB. Each step of this journey has been truly rewarding,” said Ivan.

Ivan likewise expressed his appreciation to his colleagues at ADB-CDIA.

“It has been an honor working alongside such dedicated and talented people. Your passion, expertise, and collaborative spirit have not only left a significant impact on our projects; they have also inspired me to continue my career in the field of sustainable development.”

As Ivan closes this part of his journey, he is committed to continue applying the lessons he has learned from ADB-CDIA.

“I will continue striving to make a positive impact on other people’s lives, be it on a professional or personal level,” promised Ivan.



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