ISA Poised to Become a Treaty-Based International Intergovernmental Organization

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is poised to become a treaty-based international intergovernmental organization on December 6, 2017, once Guinea ratifies the organization’s framework agreement. Guinea will become the fifteenth country to take this step and its expected ratification will increase to 19 the number of countries that have given in-principle ratification to the agreement.

The other 18 countries that have ratified the ISA or given in-principle ratification to it include: India, Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Cuba, Fiji, France, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Nauru, Niger, Peru, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, and Tuvalu. Under the ISA framework agreement, once 15 countries ratify the ISA in writing it becomes a treaty-based international intergovernmental organization.

The ISA is an Indian initiative that was jointly launched by the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi and the president of France on November 30, 2015, in Paris, on the sidelines of COP-21, the UN Climate Conference. The ISA seeks to address the obstacles to deploying solar energy at scale through the improved harmonization and aggregation of demand from solar-rich countries located fully or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

As of now, 46 countries have signed the ISA agreement. These are: Australia, Bangladesh. Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guiana, Fiji, France, Gabonese Republic, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, India, Kiribati, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Nauru, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Tonga, Togolese Republic, Tuvalu, the United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu, and Venezuela.

The Paris Declaration establishing the ISA states that the countries share the collective ambition to undertake innovative and concerted efforts to reduce the cost of finance and  technology for the immediate deployment of solar generation assets. This will help pave the way for future solar generation, storage, and good technologies for each prospective member countries’ individual needs by effectively mobilizing more than $1,000 billion in investments that will be required by 2030.

India has offered to meet the ISA Secretariat expenses for its initial five years. In addition, the Ministry of External Affairs of the government of India has set aside $2 billion for solar projects in Africa from the government of India’s $10 billion concessional line of credit (LOC) for Africa. The government of France has also earmarked a €300 million soft loan for solar-related projects in ISA member countries.

These loans are just a few of the efforts that ISA undertaken. In January 2017, ISA partnered with the World Bank to launch the Global Solar Atlas, a free, web-based tool that helps investors and policymakers identify potential sites for solar power generation virtually anywhere in the world.

In addition, ISA is set to launch the pilot phase of its Common Risk Mitigation Mechanism (CRMM) next year. Mercom reported last month that the pilot program aims to achieve a critical size and demonstrate its cost effectiveness in pooling and aggregating capital, as well as mitigating risks at an international level. The pilot program is poised to be ISA’s first offering to deepen solar markets.

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