World leaders from more than 20 countries have this week signed a framework agreement that will begin the process of formally putting the International Solar Alliance (ISA) on track to become a recognized intergovernmental body under the UN charter.
The signing took place in Marrakesh, Morocco, where the COP22 summit has been held, and formalizes an idea first crystallized last year in Paris at the COP21 summit. The ISA is the brainchild of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande, and seeks to unify more than 100 countries in working towards one common goal – to nurture the solar industry with supportive policies.
Countries including India, France and Brazil were among the first signatories of the framework agreement, and there is now a three month window for additional nations to sign up. Once 15 more more countries officially ratify it, then the ISA will officially enter into force.
"Many countries have said that they would sign on to the agreement but would first go through the domestic processes required to join an intergovernmental body," said a senior official at the COP22 event.
A key tenet of the ISA’s initial pledge is to serve as a facilitator to propel the development of solar power among the millions of unserved and underserved people the world over. Hence, the alliance has thus far tended to turn the heads of the developing world and the 120-odd countries that lie between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
Additionally, countries such as the U.K. and the U.S. have expressed an interest in joining the ISA.
The ISA’s chief tasks begin as soon as it comes into legal existence, said India’s interim director general Upendra Tripathy. This process is expected to be formalized over the coming weeks, he added.