The Modi government’s key renewable energy initiative International Solar Alliance (ISA) on Monday received boost when Djibouti, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia and Ghana signed the ISA framework agreement on the sidelines of African Development Bank (AfDB) meeting in Gandhinagar aimed a boosting IndoAfrican ties. The ISA Framework Agreement will be opened for signature in Gandhinagar during AfDB meeting between May 22 26. Comoros will also be submitting its ratification instrument. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will be gracing the signing and ratification ceremony that will be organised by MEA. Pacific Island state Nauru has formally conveyed that they have completed the ratification and will also be depositing the ratification instrument with the MEA at the side event in Gandhinagar. Mauritius would be signing and ratifying the Framework Agreement together on 27 May during the upcoming visit of the Mauritius Prime Minister to India. Fiji has also completed the ratification process and will deposit its instrument with the MEA in the next few weeks.
The ISA initiative was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on 30 November 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then French President Francois Hollande. The ISA is conceived as a coalition of solar resource rich countries to address their special energy needs and will provide a platform to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach. The Prime Minister of India and the President of France jointly laid the foundation stone of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Headquarters and inaugurated the interim Secretariat of the ISA in National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Gurugram, Haryana on 25th January, 2016. Launching the Secretariat, Prime Minister of India stated that the ISA as a potent tool for mutual cooperation among the member countries for mutual gains through enhances solar energy utilization.
The total Government of India support including the normative cost of the land will be about Rs. 400 crore (US$ 62 million). Of this, Rs. 175 crore (US $ 27 million) will be utilized for creating building infrastructure and recurring expenditure. The recurring expenditure on ISA will be met from voluntary contributions from member countries, ISA corpus fund, Government of India has offered training support for ISA member countries at National Institute for Solar Energy (NISE) and also support for demonstration projects for solar home lighting, solar pumps for farmers and for other
solar applications. The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) also announced contribution of US $ 1 million each to the ISA corpus fund. The International Steering Committee ISA, open to all 121 prospective member countries of the ISA (those falling between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn) held its meetings in Paris (1 Dec 2015), Abu Dhabi (18 Jan 2016), and New York (22 April 2016). The ISC held its 4th meeting on 5 October 2016 in New Delhi, India.
At the 4th ISC meeting in New Delhi, the draft Framework Agreement on establishment of the ISA was circulated among the prospective member countries. Prospective ISA countries were requested to convey their acceptance, suggest comments (if any) or seek clarifications (if required) on the Draft Framework Agreement of the ISA by 17 October 2016. The finalized ISA Framework Agreement, which seeks to establish ISA as a treatybased organization was opened for signature at the 22nd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) in
Marrakech, Morocco from 718 November 2016. MEA’s Economic Diplomacy Division has been spearheading the process of getting the prospective countries to sign up and ratify the framework agreement. A total of 24 countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Guinea Bissau, India, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Nauru, Niger, Republic of Guinea, Senegal, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu) signed the ISA Framework Agreement in Marrakech on 15 November 2016 (within 41 days of finalizing the text of the agreement, a record in itself). Rwanda signed the Framework Agreement on 9 January 2017, taking the total number of signatories to 25 countries.
India and France were the first two countries to ratify the Framework Agreement. Within 7 months of the opening of the Framework Agreement for signature in November 2016, the total number of signatories to the ISA framework agreement have reached 31, with 6 countries ratifying the agreement, a record in itself. The ISA as a legal entity will come into existence once 15 countries ratify and deposit the framework agreement