- International Solar Alliance (ISA) was launched in 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former President of France Francois Hollande at the 21st session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-21) in Paris, France.
- ISA was conceived as a coalition of solar-resource-rich countries (which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn) to address their special energy needs.
- The ISA currently boasts a membership of 87 countries globally.
- As guided by the Framework Agreement of the ISA, the interests and objectives of the ISA are as follows:
- To collectively address key common challenges to scale up solar energy applications in line with their needs;
- To mobilize investments of more than USD 1000 billion by 2030;
- To take coordinated action through programmes and activities launched on a voluntary basis, aimed at better harmonization, aggregation of demand, risk and resources, for promoting solar finance, solar technologies, innovation, R&D, capacity building etc.;
- Reduce the cost of finance to increase investments in solar energy in member countries by promoting innovative financial mechanisms and mobilizing finance from Institutions;
- Scale up applications of solar technologies in member countries, and
- Facilitate collaborative research and development (R&D) activities in solar energy technologies among member countries.
- Promote a common cyber platform for networking, cooperation and exchange of ideas among member countries;
- Most of the countries that are part of the ISA are from Asia, Africa, South America and the Pacific, are hydrocarbon-deficit with high energy demand and are grappling with issues ranging from lack of infrastructure, lack of manufacturing capacity and high energy tariffs. Therefore, it is increasingly important for these countries to get access to renewable energy (RE) at affordable prices.
- Countries that do not fall between the Tropics can also join the ISA and enjoy all benefits as other members, with the exception of voting rights.
- The Permanent Secretariat of ISA will be located in India at Gurugram, the first time that an inter-governmental treaty-based alliance will have its headquarters in India. The Interim Secretariat of the ISA is located at the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Gurugram.
- For achieving the universalisation of the membership of the ISA beyond the tropics, the first General Assembly of the alliance, held on October 3, 2018, had adopted an amendment to the framework agreement on its establishment to expand the scope of membership to all member states of the United Nations, including those beyond the tropics.
Why in News?
- After the necessary ratifications/approvals/acceptances were obtained from the requisite number of ISA member countries, the said amendment has entered into force on July 15, 2020.
- It will enable member states of the UN to join the grouping, including those beyond the tropics.