Sixth session of the International Solar Alliance Assembly, New Delhi, Republic of India

The International Solar Alliance (ISA), an initiative of India and France started in 2015 on the sidelines of the conference on climate change in Paris. Its aim is to develop and deploy cost-effective solar energy solutions for its member countries to develop low-carbon growth trajectories, with particular focus on delivering impact in countries categorized as Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The ISA acts as a platform where resources from key international partners, international financial institutions, private sector institutions and governments can be brought together to support accelerated development of solar and solar related technologies such as hydrogen. It has a strategy of mobilizing 1000 billion of investment in applied solar technologies for 1000 million people by 2030. At present, the alliance has 116 signatory countries of which 94, including Seychelles, are full members. It is supported through contribution from member countries the most significant coming from the two founding members India and France, but also from international organizations and philanthropic organizations.

Seychelles was one amongst the of four countries that presented to the meeting recently commissioned projects supported by the ISA. This is the recently commissioned solar powered chilled storage facility on Praslin, located at the Seychelles Ports Authority compound. The projects dual aims are to extend the
shelf life of vegetable produced by farmers on the island, thus allowing them to better derive revenue from what they produce. Nonetheless, this project will also kick-start a process of increased access to renewable technology by the agriculture sector specifically in post-harvest, livestock and irrigation. Malawi, Kiribati, Fiji also presented projects supported by the ISA, all of which went to energy security in community facilities such as parliament, health centres and schools. It must be noted that Seychelles, has already secured, through other partners, systems for schools, and is working on accessing resources to facilitate access to renewable for other government facilities.

Our country has also just completed the legal and technical process to enable the setting up of a 5-megawatt floating system at providence lagoon. Calls for proposals for projects of similar or larger capacity would be launched in 2024. This, together with distributed generation by domestic consumers and commercial enterprises shall enable Seychelles to install sufficient capacity to reach its target of 15% by 2030.

In his intervention at the meeting, the minister expressed Seychelles commitment to increase the use of solar energy in all sectors in the country, in pursuit of country targets communicated to the UNFCCC Climate Change agreement, and in alignment with the targets for the ISA. Solar is the energy source with the greatest potential in the country. He also emphasized the need for continued communication with and support from the ISA to island states and developing countries, in order to help them achieve their targets for incorporating renewables in their energy mix.

Otherwise, these countries, because of development challenges, would become a handicap to global efforts to decarbonize and reduce emission of greenhouse gases. ISA has existing facilities to support these countries, such as the viability gap funding and small grants programs that continues to expand especially for least developed countries and SIDS. The minister also emphasized the need for capacity building being undertaken under programs run by ISA, approached from a regional perspective to allow technicians from countries without centres to benefit, he concluded his intervention highlighting that the alliance should consider life cycle management of solar equipment as an area where solutions are necessary, and support needed for parties, especially island states.

The Seychelles delegation conducted bilateral meeting with Indian Minister for power and new and renewable energy Mr RAJ KUMAR Singh who is also the ISA President. The minister expressed his appreciation with the support given by the Indian government in developing the recent cold storage project and in its continuing leadership of the ISA, as well as the facilitation provided by Indian diplomatic mission in Seychelles. In the meeting the Seychelles delegation made a specific request for a follow up program with ISA and the government of India for solar applications in agriculture, especially in livestock production and processing units which have high energy demands, as well as application of solar solutions for provision of irrigation water to local farms. Such program fits within a specific program of the ISA, and if agreed can comprise enhancements to irrigation systems operated by government of farm clusters and facilities for individual applications on farms. Discussions focused also on and the areas of work that the relationship
with ISA can focus on in the coming year. The delegation also conveyed to the minister, information on matters concerning agricultural cooperation that need to be further advanced, in particular an agreement between the Seychelles and the Indian Council for Agricultural research ICAR should unlock a greater number of options for development in crop production and training. The minister undertook to transmit such request to the respective Ministry within the government of India.

The Seychelles delegation also conducted bilateral meetings with the ISA vice president, French minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Chrysoula Zacharapoulou, where they discussed matters related to the climate COP 28 in December this year. In particular, they shared viewpoints on recent international efforts to develop measures that address vulnerability of SIDS in development assistance, and the process for establishment of a loss and damage fund for which a final pre-cop meeting is happening in November. French collaboration with Seychelles on renewable energy exists already through the first independent power production contract signed earlier this year, and through past projects to assess and propose energy solutions in the country. Minister Zacharapoulou also conveyed her wish to discuss further with Seychelles authorities reinforcement of currently ongoing initiatives such as cooperation on security, and other EU programs. Government officials from the Ministry for Agriculture Climate Change and Environment as well as other ministries will, during the month of November, follow-up on those points discussed, in time for the COP in December.

Seychelles is represented at the sixth session of the ISA assembly, taking place in New Delhi, by the Minister for Agriculture Climate Change and Environment Mr Flavien Joubert, Principal Secretary for Agriculture Mr Keven Nancy and Seychelles ambassador to the Republic of India Mrs Lalatiana Accouche.

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