Public Discussion Making Energy Green and Low Carbon to Support Sustainable Growth: Advancing the Role of Civil Society in Southeast Asia Energy Transition Cooperation during Indonesia ASEAN Chairmanship 2023


After having the opportunity to host the G20 last year, this time Indonesia has taken the mantle of ASEAN Chairmanship in 2023, which was previously held by Cambodia. This is the fourth time for Indonesia to take the chairmanship position of ASEAN, where the core theme is ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth”. Within this theme, the Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi mentioned that there will be two elements highlighted by the Indonesian government during its leadership, which are the increasing relevance of ASEAN both inside and outside of the region, as well as transforming ASEAN to be the center of global economic growth (Ministry of Trade, 2023). Retno also emphasized that the Myanmar issues–which have been a thorn in the flesh during rounds of ASEAN negotiations–should not “hold the ASEAN community development process hostage” and Indonesia will embrace its leadership role with optimism and positive outlook (Kementerian Luar Negeri, 2023).

Indonesia’s chairmanship in ASEAN 2023 will also carry over several priorities of last year’s G20, such as digital transformation, sustainable energy, and global economic recovery. Several issue priorities on energy formulated by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources are closely related to the ASEAN Power Grid plan, a regional electricity interconnectivity project as an effort to maintain the stability of energy supply in ASEAN (ESDM, 2023). In regards to the climate change issue, Indonesia has been appointed as the chair of ASEAN Working Groups on Chemicals and Waste for 2022-2024. Within this working group framework, there is an ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Work Plan which covers the issues of marine waste, climate change, biodiversity, and sustainable cities (Media Indonesia, 2022).

The Indonesia ASEAN Chairmanship in 2023 will be a challenging one, since ASEAN as an institution is currently under scrutiny that came from both inside and outside the region. According to a survey conducted by ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute (2022), around 82,6% ASEAN citizens considered ASEAN is starting to become irrelevant and inefficient in carrying out its role as a regional organization. The same survey also reported that 73% ASEAN citizens felt that ASEAN is currently an arena for major power’s struggle for influence. It is worried that ASEAN Member States will be major power proxies. Therefore, a collaborative enterprise is needed to strengthen the institutional capacity of ASEAN. With the success of its G20 presidency last year, it is hoped that Indonesia chairmanship will result with an ASEAN that is more adaptable to the pressing issues of the century, including energy transition and climate change.

In advancing Indonesia’s chairmanship in ASEAN 2023, Institute of Essential Services Reform will hold a public discussion targeted for civil society organizations in all ASEAN Member States, especially in the climate and energy sector. This public discussion is held with the objective to introduce the priority issues of Indonesia’s ASEAN Chairmanship 2023 and the decision-making process of ASEAN as an institution. Hence, it is expected that this event will be a platform for CSOs to actively voice their aspirations to ASEAN and also a chance to strengthen the CSOs network in ASEAN.



  1. Introduction to the agendas of Indonesia ASEAN Chairmanship 2023, particularly on the issue stream of energy transition and climate change.
  2. Explanation of the ASEAN decision-making structure and how civil society can partake in the process.
  3. Exploring the aspirations and perception of civil society organizations in ASEAN Member States on the agenda of Indonesia ASEAN Chairmanship 2023.