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New Delhi : The Third Assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) was attended by 34 ISA Member ministers.Fifty-three Member countries and 5 Signatory and Prospective Member countries participated at the Assembly. India and France were re-elected as the President and Co- President of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) for a term of two years at the virtual meeting of the Third Assembly held on October 14, 2020.

Four new Vice-Presidents were also chosen to represent the four regions of ISA. The representatives of Fiji & Nauru for Asia Pacific Region; Mauritius & Niger for Africa Region; UK & Netherlands for Europe and others Region, and Cuba and Guyana for Latin America and Caribbean Region assumed the vice presidency, according to a PIB release.

The Assembly also approved the initiatives of the ISA Secretariat for institutionalising ISA’s engagement with the private and public corporate sector through the Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action (CSCA). Ten public sector organisations in India presented a cheque for 1 million USD each at the assembly, according to a PIB release.

Speaking in the plenary, the President of the ISA assembly, India’s Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister, R K Singh, appreciated the Alliance Members coming together to work for combating climate change. Singh said that Solar Energy has come a long way in last 5 years and is now the fastest growing energy source globally. He said, “Solar energy is already contributing around 2.8% of global electricity ,and if trends were to continue, by 2030, solar will become most important source of energy for electricity production in large part of the world.”

The President ISA also mentioned about various activities and programmes initiated by ISA since the 2nd Assembly. He said that six programmes and two projects are now underway covering various aspects of solar energy. A robust pipeline of more than US$ 5 Billion has been developed for solar energy applications to meet lighting, irrigation, drinking water, and productive energy requirement of the ISA member countries, which have so far been largely deprived of modern energy services.

The Co-President of the Assembly Barbara Pompili, France’s Minister for Ecological Transition, underlined that ISA played an essential role to help redirect funding towards renewable energies, particularly in developing countries, and take up the challenge of energy at the service of all.

President of COP26 Alok Sharma recalled the commitment of the United Kingdom to fight climate change. The UK planned to phase out coal within the next five years and to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. COP26 President discussed 5 key priorities:adaptation and resilience, nature, energy transition, accelerating the move to zero-carbon road transport, and finance.

For the first time since the inception of the framework agreement of ISA, Solar awards were conferred on countries of the region as well as institutions working for solar. The assembly witnessed the conferment of the Visvesvaraya award which recognises the countries with maximum floating solar capacity in each of the four regions of ISA. The awards went to Japan for the Asia Pacific region and the Netherlands for Europe and Others region.

Haryana Chief Minister M L  Khattar announced the Kalpana Chawla awards, named after the American astronaut of Indian origin, to Dr.Bhim Singh from IIT Delhi (India) and Dr.Aaesha Alnuaimi from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (United Arab Emirates. The awards recognise outstanding contribution of scientists and engineers working in the field of solar energy.

Mahendra Jain, Additional Chief Secretary to the Government of Karnataka, announced the awards named after Bharat Ratna M Visvesvaraya to the representatives of the countries of Japan for the Asia and the Pacific region and the Kingdom of the Netherlands for Europe and other region. The award carries an amount of 12,330 USD as prize money, a scroll and a certificate.

The Diwakar award, instituted by ISA out of the contribution made by  India’s Minister for Railways and Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal of 25,000 USD received by him from the University of Pennsylvania, has been awarded to Arpan Institute (Haryana) and Arushi Society.

In the wake of the global pandemic, ISA responded by setting up ISA CARES, an initiative dedicated to deployment of solar energy in healthcare sector in LDC/SIDS ISA Member countries. The initiative aims to solarise one primary health sector in each district of the target Member countries. Australia has provided AUD 92,000 for the ISA CARES initiative in the Pacific to provide ongoing reliable solar energy for health centres in the Pacific.