International Solar Alliance (ISA)

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    3rd Jan, 2019

Context

According to the year- end review of the government’s policies, the establishment of the International Solar Alliance by India ranked amongst its biggest successes as it is the first multilateral organisation with as many as 71 member countries already signed on that is headquartered in India.

About

What is International Solar Alliance?

  • Launched in 2015, ISA is a coalition of solar resource rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn to specifically address energy needs by harnessing solar energy.
  • It is a treaty-based intergovernmental
  • The ISA Framework Agreement has a total of 14 articles. There are no targets or legal obligations imposed on member-countries.
  • UN member countries which are located beyond the Tropics can join the ISA as “Partner Countries.” United Nations including its organs can join the ISA as “Strategic Partners”.
  • Organizations that have potential to help the ISA achieve its objectives including regional inter-governmental economic integration organizations constituted by sovereign states at least one of which is a member of the ISA can join the ISA as a “Partner Organization”.

What is Paris Declaration on ISA?

  • The Paris Declaration was issued on 30th November, 2015 at the time of launching of International Solar Alliance. It inter alia states that the prospective member countries share the collective ambition to undertake innovative and concerted efforts for reducing the cost of finance and cost of technology for immediate deployment of competitive solar generation.
  • It further aims to formulate financial instruments to effectively mobilize more than US$1000 billion dollars in investments that will be required by 2030 for the massive deployment of affordable solar energy and pave the way for future solar generation, storage and good technologies for each prospective member country’s individual needs.

Where is the seat of the ISA?

  • India and France jointly laid the foundation stone of ISA Headquarters and inaugurated the interim Secretariat of the ISA in National Institute of Solar Energy campus, Gurugram, Haryana.

Structure of the ISA and decision making process

  • It has a two-tier structure – the Assembly and the Secretariat.
  • Each member-country is represented on the Assembly, which meets annually. It may also meet under special circumstances.
  • The Assembly makes all necessary decisions regarding the functioning of the ISA, including the selection of the Director General and approval of the operating budget.
  • Each Member has one vote in the Assembly.
  • Partner Countries, Partner Organizations, Strategic Partners, and Observers may participate without having the right to vote.
  • The Secretariat comprises of a Director General, who is the Chief Executive Officer, and other staff as may be required. The Director General is selected by and responsible to the Assembly, for a term of four years, renewable for one further term.
  • There is no membership-fee to join the ISA. All costs relating to the running of the ISA will be funded through voluntary contributions of members.

What are the key challenges that the ISA will address?

  • The ISA will particularly address the issues relating to solar energy such as (i) High cost and low availability of finance (ii) Inadequate speed, scale, and skill for deploying available solar technologies and (iii) Lack of appropriate R&D in future solar technologies etc.

What are the initiatives ISA has undertaken so far?

  • As an action- oriented organization three programmes of ISA namely “Scaling up solar applications for agricultural use”, “Affordable finance at scale” and “Scaling up Solar Minigrids” have been launched. Drafts of the fourth and the fifth progammes are proposed to be launched in the near future.
  • The ISA signed and issued Joint Declarations with World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Climate Parliament, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for the promotion and cooperation of solar energy.
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