The founding conference of the India-initiated International Solar Alliance (ISA) will be held here on March 11, it was announced on Thursday.
"The founding conference of the ISA on March 11 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan cultural centre in New Delhi," T.S. Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said at a special media briefing here.
"We expect all the signatories and countries, which have ratified the ISA framework agreement, to be present," Tirumurti said.
The ISA, launched at the UN Conference of Parties (CoP) climate summit in Paris on November 30, 2015, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then French President Francois Hollande, is conceived as a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to address their special energy needs and provide a platform to collaborate on dealing with the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach.
It is open to all 121 prospective member countries falling between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
The interim secretariat of the ISA was inaugurated by Modi and Hollande in Gurugram on January 25, 2016.
The framework agreement of the establishment of the ISA was opened for signature in Morocco on November 15, 2016.
The alliance became a legal entity on December 6, 2016 after the deposit of the 15th ratification instrument.
Tirumurti said that the countries for the March 11 conference have been invited jointly by Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron.
"We have also invited inter-alia the multilateral development banks, UN agencies, business entities - particularly in the field of renewable energy - civil society, research institutions etc," he said.
"As of now, the indications are that, out of the 55, nearly half the countries will be represented at heads of state or heads of government level."
Anand Kumar, Secretary in the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, said that the ISA is the first treaty-based multilateral organisation to be headquartered in India.
He said that India has agreed to meet the ISA secretariat expenses for an initial period of five years and a corpus fund of Rs. 130 crore has been set up.
According to Tirumurti, provisions have also been made for holding bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the March 11 conference.