International Organisations Current Affairs

India hosts 16th International Energy Forum (IEF) Ministerial Meeting

India, world’s third-largest energy consumer after US and China hosted 16th International Energy Forum (IEF) Ministerial Meeting from 10-12th April 2018 in New Delhi. It was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is second time India hosting IEF Ministerial meeting. It had earlier hosted 5th IEF Ministerial in 1996 at Goa.

IEF Ministerial Meeting

The theme of 2018 IEF Ministerial Meeting was “The Future of Global Energy Security: Transition, Technology, Trade and Investment”. It was attended by Petroleum Ministers from 42 countries and was co-hosted by China and South Korea. It was informal dialogue held at both political and technical levels. It was aimed to improve policy and investment decisions, and through increased knowledge and experience sharing.

The deliberations among other important issues held in this edition of meeting were global energy security, sustainable and inclusive growth, energy access and affordability, fiscal regimes and legal reforms to attract investments in the energy sector and energy sector digitalization-benefits and challenges.

International Energy Forum (IEF)

The IEF is an inter-governmental arrangement set up in 1991 and based (Secretariat) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It serves as neutral facilitator of informal, open, informed and continuing global energy dialogue among its member countries. There are 72 member countries of IEF (comprising of energy producing and energy consuming states, including transit countries) including India, covering all six continents. Its membership accounts for 90% of global supply and demand for oil and gas.

IEF’s Executive Board (EB) was set up in 2002 and comprises of 31 designated representatives of Ministers of the member states. It meets twice a year. International Energy Agency (IEA) and Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are non-voting members of the Executive Board. The EB is chaired by the Host State of the next biennial Ministerial Meeting. Indian is currently Chair of IEF’s Executive Board. The IEF Ministerial Meetings are held biennially and is world’s largest gathering of Energy Ministers who engage in dialogue on global energy issues.

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Cabinet approves Host country Agreement between India and ISA

The Union Cabinet has approved signing of Host country (Headquarters) Agreement between India and International Solar Alliance (ISA). The agreement was signed between Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and ISA in March, 2018.

Key Facts

The agreement gives ISA juridical personality power to contract, acquire and dispose off movable and immovable properties and also to institute and defend legal proceedings. Under it, ISA will enjoy such privileges, applicable tax concessions and immunities that are necessary for ISA’s Headquarter to independently discharge its function and programmes. It will derive its status, privileges and immunities as per Article 10 of Framework Agreement.

Significance

The agreement will institutionalize functional arrangements between India and ISA. It will help in smooth transition of ISA as international inter-governmental organization. It will lead to accelerated solar technology development and deployment in ISA member countries including India.

International Solar Alliance (ISA)

ISA was jointly launched by India and France in November 2015 at Paris on side lines of COP21 UN Climate Change Conference. Its Framework Agreement came into force in December 2017. It celebrated its founding day on 11th March, 2018. It is headquartered at campus of Natioanl Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Gurugram, Harayana, making it first international intergovernmental treaty based organization to be headquartered in India.

Objectives of ISA: Undertake joint efforts required to reduce the cost of finance and the cost of technology; Mobilize more than US $1000 billion of investments needed by 2030 for massive deployment of solar energy; Pave way for future technologies adapted to needs of solar rich 121 countries lying fully or partially between Tropic of Cancer and Capricon.

ISA’s 4 ongoing programmes: Scaling Solar Mini Grids; Affordable Finance at Scale; Scaling Solar Applications for Agricultural Use; Scaling Solar Rooftop catering to the needs of solar energy in specific areas.

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