December 23, 2015
On the sidelines of the November 7-18 UN climate summit in Marrakech, Morocco, the governments of over 20 countries signed a framework agreement designed to make the International Solar Alliance (ISA) an intergovernmental treaty-based organisation that will be registered under Article 102 of the UN charter.
The ISA – meant to promote solar energy – was launched at the 2015 Paris climate summit by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and the French President, Francois Hollande, with 121 countries as its members. Its secretariat is located in Gurgaon, a suburb of the Indian capital New Delhi.
With the signatures now starting to come in, Indian government officials are hoping at least 20 more countries will sign by the end of the Marrakech climate summit. They say many more are keen to join the ISA.
As the agreement was opened for signing, Anil Madhav Dave, India’s Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change said that the ISA had already started many initiatives to promote solar energy. “With a legal framework in place ISA will be a major international body headquartered in India.”
The ISA will create a common buyers’ market for solar finance, technology, innovation, capacity building, said Dave, adding, “This will lead to higher quality, lower costs, products better tailored to needs, collaborative innovation, and technology ownership.”
The ISA is expected to focus on reducing the cost of finance for solar energy and mobilise up to USD 1 trillion for this by 2030. It also has a mandate to develop new, cost-efficient and reliable solar technologies and applications.
The framework agreement allows all UN-member countries whose territory, either fully or partially, is located between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to become ISA members. The ISA will have two tiers – an assembly and a secretariat. Countries not within the tropics can be given partner country status if the assembly so decides. The framework will enter into force with ratification by 15 countries.
The ISA is striving to keep operational costs low. It has been decided that there will be no mandatory contributions from member countries. India has offered to provide INR 1.75 billion (USD 26 million) for an ISA corpus fund and for meeting the cost of the secretariat for the first five years.