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Spotlight on Satoshi Ishii and His Outlook on the Future of CDIA

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Satoshi Ishii has taken the helm of CDIA as the Director of Strategy and Partnerships Team within the Water and Urban Development Sector Office of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Intent to transition the project preparation facility into the future, he laid out a pragmatic plan that involves retrospection, client engagement, and increased synergy with partners.

About Satoshi

Satoshi is an environmental engineer with over 18 years of combined experience in infrastructure finance, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and environmental pollution control and management.

Over his past 15 years with ADB, he has designed and managed infrastructure projects in several countries in East Asia and Southeast Asia. From water supply and sanitation to transport and energy sectors, he has been a vanguard of sustainable urban development.

As Director of Strategy and Partnerships Team, Satoshi performs critical functions that include overseeing CDIA and other ADB-managed trust funds under the Urban Financing Partnership Facility (UFPF).

He assumed his current post by way of the new operating model (NOM) that ADB started implementing in June 2023.

NOM: ADB’s Most Profound Suite of Reforms Since 2002

By undertaking comprehensive organizational reforms, ADB aims to strengthen its value proposition to better respond to the changing development needs in Asia and the Pacific and deliver the goals of its corporate strategy, Strategy 2030.

NOM focuses on four fundamental shifts, such as increasing ADB’s capacity as the region’s climate bank to help developing member countries (DMCs) address climate change and other defining challenges. It also entails catalyzing private sector development, as the private sector is a crucial partner in the region’s economic growth and climate change response. Additionally, it involves providing more high-impact and integrated solutions to clients by creating and using ADB capabilities more effectively and promoting client-centric approaches and modern ways of working with DMCs.

For ADB clients, this would mean enhanced experience with the bank as the task of coordinating ADB-wide engagement with them now falls on resident missions and regional departments, ably supported by sectoral and thematic groups that can provide seamless and coherent expertise.

Prospects for a Future-Ready CDIA

Being in sync with the CDIA Strategy 2023-2027, Satoshi sees NOM as a vehicle by which CDIA can sustain its relevance to clients.

“Although CDIA is flexible and it serves the needs of cities and downstream financiers, still, we have to refine our strategies to better address current and future development issues,” said Satoshi. “The region has developed after more than 10 years of CDIA existence, and as its needs have evolved, so must we. By aligning with NOM’s objectives, we can transition from the past into the future.”

Toward this aspiration, Satoshi intends to take incremental yet strategic steps, starting with the re-evaluation of CDIA’s original objectives. This is essential to make it fit for purpose given the changing landscape and urban development challenges in Asia and the Pacific.

Reaching out to its donors, downstream financiers, city counterparts, and other partners to know their priorities, expectations, and sentiments is another key undertaking this year. Satoshi hopes that together with them, he can find a way to harness the unique offering of CDIA.

“We always appreciate the contribution of our partners, and we want to work closely with them to add value to what we do,” said Satoshi. “As we tend to look at ourselves from the internal point of view, knowing their thoughts and expectations is important for us to continue improving.”

After reflecting on what CDIA can offer and considering the insights of clients and partners, the next big task is finding the right place where CDIA can thrive and provide more and better solutions.

In line with NOM, Satoshi hopes to create more synergy with ADB sector operations and programs, UFPF and WFPF* trust funds, and external partners to strengthen collaboration and complementarity.

Mutual reinforcement, where one initiative assumes tasks, in which they have a comparative advantage in terms of priorities and funds compared to others, is an effective way to use resources efficiently while maximizing development impacts. For example, although about half of ADB’s urban sector portfolio is water-related (e.g., water supply, sanitation, drainage, and flood management), urban and water financing partnership facilities and the trust funds were not closely coordinated because different teams managed them.

As someone who consistently embraces change, having transitioned from ADB’s East Asia to Southeast Asia operations, and now to the Water and Urban Development Sector Group, Satoshi remains optimistic. He believes these transitions will align CDIA with the evolving direction of Asia and the Pacific, and by extension, ADB. He hopes this will open greater opportunities for CDIA.

 

 


* Under NOM, the Strategy and Partnerships Team of the Water and Urban Development Sector Office manages both the Urban Financing Partnership Facility with 5 trust funds and the Water Financing Partnership Facility with 4 trust funds.

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