19 countries sign up for solar alliance

New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) A total of 19 countries have signed the framework agreement of the India-initiated International Solar Alliance (ISA) on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties (CoP) 22 climate summit in Marrakech, Morocco, a senior official said on Thursday.

According to External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup, after the framework agreement was opened for signing on November 15, the countries that have signed up are India, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Republic of Guinea, Mali, Nauru, Niger, Tanzania, Tuvalu, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Guinea Bissau, Fiji, Vanuatu and Liberia.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the ISA on the sidelines of the CoP 21 climate summit in Paris last year.

It will be an alliance of 121 solar resource rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

The ISA is envisioned as a 21st century international organisation and will work like a start-up.

The alliance is designed to be a solar demand aggregator that will ensure that solar energy is made affordable universally by involving all stakeholders including multilateral development banks.

Unlike other international organisations, the ISA has launched two programmes — on Solar Pumps and Affordable Finance — even prior to coming into formal existence.

Countries not falling within the two tropics can join the ISA as partner countries and will enjoy all benefits of the ISA, except voting rights.

The ISA will seek to mobilise more than $1,000 billion in investments needed by 2030 that will pave the way for future solar energy generation, storage and good technologies for countries’ individual needs.

Swarup, at his weekly media briefing here, said that 19 countries signing up in so short a time was “a commendable achievement in that the ISA framework agreement has been opened up for signature within less than a year since the announcement was made to set up the ISA on November 30, 2015, in Paris at the CoP 21”.

“More countries are expected to sign the framework agreement in the coming weeks,” he said.

“France and US are also expected to join after completing some internal formalities.”

The spokesperson said that the ISA as a legal entity would come into existence once 15 countries ratify the framework agreement.

It will have an assembly which will meet once every year at the ministerial-level and a secretariat that will be manned by a director general.

India’s Ministry of Non-Renewable is currently running the interim secretariat.

The headquarter of this inter-governmental organisation is based in Gurugram, India.

“India has offered a contribution of Rs 175 crore (around $27 million) for creating the ISA corpus fund and for meeting the cost of the ISA secretariat for the initial five years,” Swarup stated.

–IANS

ab/vt

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