Agreement on International Solar Alliance Signed

IAS Prelims 2023

Over 20 countries have become signatories to the framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance.

The Framework Agreement of ISA was opened for signature in Marrakech on the sidelines of the CoP22 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

This will make ISA an innovative, action-oriented and sui generis international and inter-governmental treaty-based organisation that will be registered under Article 102 of the UN charter.

ISA was jointly launched by Prime Minister Modi and French President Francois Hollande at the CoP21 in Paris last year where representatives from around 70 countries including more than 30 Heads of the States and government participated.

ISA is an initiative by India where an alliance of 121 solar resource-rich countries lying fully or partially between the tropic of Cancer and tropic of Capricorn, have come together.

The Framework Agreement will be kept open as many more countries are expected to join the ISA in the coming weeks. The Marrakech Climate Change Negotiations will go on till November 18.

India has offered a contribution of Rs 175 crore (around US $27 million) for creating ISA corpus fund and for meeting the cost of ISA secretariat, based in New Delhi, for the initial five years.

Objectives of ISA

Parties established an International Solar Alliance, through which they will collectively address key common challenges to the scaling up of solar energy in line with their needs.

Guiding Principles of ISA

1. Members take coordinated actions through Programmes and activities launched on a voluntary basis, aimed at better harmonizing and aggregating demand for, inter alia, solar finance, solar technologies, innovation, research and development, and capacity building.

2. In this endeavor, Members cooperate closely and strive for establishing mutually beneficial relationships with relevant organizations, public and private stakeholders, and with non-member countries.

3. Each Member shares and updates, for those solar applications for which it seeks the benefits of collective action under the ISA, and based on a common analytical mapping of solar applications, relevant information regarding: its needs and objectives; domestic measures and initiatives taken or intended to be taken in order to achieve these objectives; obstacles along the value chain and dissemination process. The Secretariat maintains a database of these assessments in order to highlight the potential for cooperation.

4. Each Member designates a National Focal Point for the ISA. National Focal Points constitute a permanent network of correspondents of the ISA in Member countries. They inter alia interact with one another and also with relevant stakeholders to identify areas of common interest, design Programmes proposals and make recommendations to the Secretariat regarding the implementation of the objectives of the ISA.

Programmes and other activities of ISA

1. A Programme of the ISA consists of a set of actions, projects and activities to be taken in a coordinated manner by Members, with the assistance of the Secretariat, in furtherance of the objective and guiding principles described in article I and II. Programmes are designed in a way to ensure maximum scale effect and participation of the largest possible number of Members. They include simple, measurable, mobilizing targets.

2. Programme proposals are designed through open consultations among all National Focal Points, with the assistance of the Secretariat, and based on information shared by Members. A Programme can be proposed by any two Members or group of Members, or by the Secretariat. The Secretariat ensures coherence among all ISA Programmes.

3. Programme proposals are circulated by the Secretariat to the Assembly by digital circulation, through the network of National Focal Points. A Programme proposal is deemed open to adhesion by Members willing to join if it is supported by at least two Members and if objections are not raised by more than two countries.

4. A Programme proposal is formally endorsed by Members willing to join, through a joint declaration. All decisions regarding the implementation of the Programme are taken by Members participating in the Programme. They are carried out, with the guidance and assistance of the Secretariat, by country Representatives designated by each Member.

5. The annual work plan gives an overview of the Programmes, and other activities of the ISA. It is presented by the Secretariat to the Assembly, which ensures that all Programmes and activities of the annual work plan are within the overall objective of the ISA.