Seychelles attends sixth session of the International Solar Alliance Assembly |03 November 2023
Seychelles was represented at the sixth session of the International Solar Alliance Assembly from October 31 to November 2 in New Delhi, India by the Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, Flavien Joubert; principal secretary for Agriculture, Keven Nancy; and Seychelles’ ambassador to India, Lalatiana Accouche.
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 categorised 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 mobilising 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 namely India and France, but also from international organisations and philanthropic organisations.
Seychelles was one among the 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 project’s 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.
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.
The 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, Minister Joubert expressed Seychelles commitment to increasing 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 emphasised the need for continued communication 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 decarbonise and reduce emission of greenhouse gases.
ISA has existing facilities to support these countries, such as the viability gap funding and small grants programmes that continue to expand especially for LDCs and Sids.
The minister also emphasised the need for capacity building being undertaken under programmes run by ISA, approached from a regional perspective to allow technicians from countries without centres to benefit.
He concluded his intervention by highlighting 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 the Indian Minister for power and new and renewable energy, 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.
The Seychelles’ delegation made a specific request for a follow up with ISA and the Indian government 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.
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 programmes. 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.