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More than 20 Nations Sign Framework for ISA
Dec 03, 2016

Over 20 countries, including Brazil and France, became signatories to the framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance. 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. ISA agreement was recently signed in Marrakesh separately.
Key Points

  • The framework agreement of International Solar Alliance (ISA) was opened for signatures on the sidelines of CoP22.
  • With this legal framework in place, the ISA will be a major international body headquartered in India.
  • Over 20 countries, including Brazil and France, became signatories to it soon after the process began.
  • 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.
  • The Framework Agreement will be kept open as many more countries are expected to join the ISA in the coming weeks.
  • Within 11 months of launch, ISA activities have increased significantly, and many initiatives are under implementation. 
  • With legal framework in place ISA will be a major international body headquartered in India.
  • Background: ISA was jointly launched by Prime Minister Narendra 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.
  • Less than a year after it proposed a unique coalition of sunlight-rich countries to fight climate change through deployment of renewable energy, India has been able to make the International Solar Alliance (ISA) a reality. 
  • The framework agreement is not only the most concrete deliverable coming out of the Marrakesh Climate Change Conference, it could also prove to be the game-changer in the global fight against climate change depending on the number of countries that eventually join it.
  • The ISA agreement is separate from the United Nations-mandated climate change talks that are held every year. 

Framework Agreement

The framework agreement says that the members of ISA would take coordinated actions through programmes and activities that will aggregate the demands for solar finance, solar technologies, innovation, research and development, and capacity building.

  • The ISA gives India an opportunity to take a global leadership role in the fight against climate change. 
  • The secretariat of the ISA is to be located in India. 
  • It will also host a meeting of ISA assembly every year.
  • India has promised to contribute $27 million for creating building infrastructure and recurring expenditure for five years, until 2020-21. 
  • A part of this money will go towards creating a corpus fund of $16 million that will generate revenues for the budget of ISA. 
  • Two public sector undertakings, the Solar Energy Corporation of India and the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, have promised $1 million each for the corpus fund.

Revolution in Solar Energy

More than 120 countries are geographically located in the tropics, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, either fully or partially. These places get ample sunlight throughout the year, making solar energy an easily available resource. These countries also happen to be the ones in which the most growth in energy demand is expected in the years to come, considering that these are areas where current production is woefully short of requirement. 

The ISA is an effort to ensure that as these countries rapidly ramp up their electricity production, they should predominantly use solar energy and avoid fossil fuels. However, this can happen only if the costs of solar energy are competitive as compared to the traditional sources of power.

The ISA seeks to do three things to bring down the costs of technology as well as of finance needed for a solar project. It seeks to boost global demand, which will result in further reduction in the prices of solar energy deployment.

It seeks to promote standardisation in the use of equipment and processes for generating electricity. Standardisation will make the manufacturing of equipment and other hardware cheaper. And it seeks to boost research and development, particularly in areas of efficient storage systems.

 


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