President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena visited New Delhi from 10-11 March 2018 to attend the Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance.
The Founding Conference was co-chaired by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and President of France Emmanuel Macron. President Sirisena called on President of India Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Conference.
He also attended the Presidential banquet hosted in Rashtrapati Bhawan on 10 March and lunch hosted by the Prime Minister on 11 March for the delegates.
The ISA Founding Conference brought together delegations from 46 countries all over the globe including Heads of State and Government from 21 countries. Several UN representatives, leaders of Multilateral Development Banks, business leaders in renewable energy, members of civil society and think tanks also attended the Conference. Delhi Solar agenda was released at the Conference.
Solar projects worth nearly US$ 1.4 billion in 15 countries were announced at the Conference under Government of India concessional financing. An Indian Line of Credit for US $ 100 million was announced for undertaking solar projects in Sri Lanka, which includes development of 200, 000 rooftop solar units for low income families (for US$ 50 million) and setting up of rooftop solar in Government schools and colleges, hospitals and other Government establishments in Sri Lanka (for US $ 50 million).
ISA has been described by Prime Minister of India as the single most important global achievement after the Paris Accord on Climate Change. The first General Assembly of the ISA is expected to be held on the sidelines of the second edition of the Renewable Energy Global Investors Meet and Expo, in short REINVEST to be organized by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy of India in April 2018.
India has offered to meet ISA Secretariat expenses for initial five years. The Government of India has allotted five acres of land to ISA, a nice campus in Gurugram, Haryana and released a sum of US$ 20 million for creating a corpus fund, building infrastructure and meeting day to day recurring expenditure.
President Maithripala Sirisena attended the launch of ISA at the COP-21 in Paris on 30 November 2015. The ISA was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi & the then President of France Francois Hollande.
The ISA is conceived as a coalition of 121 solar resource rich countries (lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn) to address their energy needs, through a common platform for collaboration, for achieving speed, scale and skills for deploying available solar technologies; facilitating strategic and collaborative solar R&D; and lowering the cost of finance for solar projects and capacity building.
62 Countries have joined ISA so far, out of which 32 countries have signed and ratified ISA Framework Agreement. Sri Lanka became a full-fledged member of ISA on 12 February 2018. (Colombo Gazette)