Background and history

The Climate Action Network South East Asia (CANSEA) was established in January 1992 but formerly the idea of forming the regional network was raised when WALHI of Indonesia, EPSM of Malaysia and Green Forum – Haribon Foundation of the Philippines were invited as observers to the Second INS Session in June 1991 in Geneva. It was felt that this form of partnership was needed to address the socio-political issues associated with the climate change debate and to exchange information, strengthen communication and coordinate activities at the regional level. This initiative further strengthened the regions link up with Climate Action Network (CAN) in Africa, South Asia, United States, Europe, Latin America, Eastern Europe, United Kingdom and the Pacific.

In August 1993, the Steering Committee in consultation with its partner NGOs at the national level, decided to rotate the Regional Secretariat every two years among member countries. In 1997, during the Steering Committee meeting in Malaysia, it was decided to do away with the Partners Assembly (because of the difficulty of raising funds for this meeting) and increasing the Steering Committee membership to 3 per country.

CANSEA is one of the eight regional networks of the Climate Action Network, an NGO established in 1989 in the run-up to the Second World Climate Conference of 1990. United by their common concern for the global climate, CAN members act in a number of different ways and roles in the climate process. CANSEA, like some CAN colleagues, are engaged in active lobby work with government representatives. CETDEM has very good influence with the Malaysian government especially with Mr. Gurmit Singh, a member in the National Climate Change Committee. Pelangi and Walhi have strong connections with the Indonesian government. They have at one time or the other been in the Indonesian delegation to the UN climate conferences (CoP) serving as advisers or in other capacities. CANSEA has represented the Southeast Asian voice in both the inter-sessional SBI and SBSTA as well as the regular CoP meetings of UNFCCC since CAN came into being.


The CANSEA regional network is designed to create synergy in the matter of doing advocacy work at the local and national levels with our respective governments and internationally to join forces with the rest of CAN bringing along the sentiments and concerns of the developing countries, particularly the Southeast Asian perspective, to the lobbying/negotiating arena (the UN Climate Conference of Parties with all its subsidiary bodies meetings [SBSTA, SBI])


  1. To strengthen the ability of national groups to address climate change issues through communication, training and information campaigns.
  2. To sustain regional and national efforts by exchanging and providing information
  3. To expand the network to include other NGOs from Southeast Asia


In the early years, funding from external sources allowed for the costs of running the Secretariat, publishing a newsletter SEANEWS, and participation in international meetings to be covered. But since 1998, little funding has been forthcoming and only limited participation in international meetings has been possible.


CANSEA envisions a global society of unity and cooperation where sustainable development is pursued hand-in-hand with social equity and climate justice, and national economies are characterized by climate-friendly lifestyles and consumption patterns that insure the well-being of both the present and future generations.


CANSEA shall serve as a catalyst in the Southeast Asian region for mainstreaming and integrating climate change into national development processes through advocacy and awareness-raising, capacity-building, networking, and partnerships towards the promotion of poverty reduction, climate justice and sustainable development.


CANSEA aims to empower the civil society organizations
and local communities in its national nodes to effectively influence and engage key stakeholders in their respective countries – i.e., the government, the corporate sector, the academe and other CSOs – in developing and implementing policies and plans that are responsive to climate change
and supportive of poverty reduction and sustainable development.

Specific Objectives

In pursuit of its vision and mission, CANSEA has the following objectives:
1. To strengthen the capacity of the CANSEA national nodes to advance climate change work in their respective countries, and to exert positive influence on government policies and positions relevant to climate change.
2. To contribute to the development of strong regional positions and cooperation on climate change through relevant regional inter-governmental bodies such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and multi-lateral institutions within the Southeast Asian region.
3. To facilitate information sharing, knowledge exchange and capacity building among members and other stakeholders.
4. To be an effective voice of Southeast Asia in developing the Climate Action Network International (CAN) positions as part of the international negotiations on climate change.
5. To mobilize necessary resources to help national nodes in their work.