The CCOP was founded under the auspices of the United Nations (previously ECAFE and now ESCAP) in 1966 with the name ‘The Committee for Co-ordination of Joint Prospecting for Mineral Resources in Asian Offshore Areas’. Initially its remit was to “promote and co-ordinate the planning and implementation of joint prospecting programmes and research in Asian offshore and geologically related areas of countries who are members of CCOP”. The founding members were China, Japan, Republic of Korea and The Philippines. Funding for its activities came mainly from the United Nation’s Development Programme (UNDP).
In the ensuing years, membership of the organisation expanded rapidly following the addition of Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. At the same time its function gradually broadened to encompass activities related to prospecting onshore as well as offshore, geoscientific aspects of the development of the coastal zones of its participating states and the dissemination of geoscience information helpful for geohazard mitigation and the protection of life and property. This change of emphasis is also reflected in the change of the organization’s name as Committee for Coordination of Joint Prospecting for Mineral Resources in the Asian Offshore Areas since its establisment, in 1994 to Coordinating Committee for Coastal and Offshore Geoscience Programmes in East and Southeast Asia, and in 2001 as Coordinating Committee for Geoscience Programmes in East and Southeast Asia.
In 1987, CCOP became an independent intergovernmental organisation, though it continued to receive considerable institutional support and project funding from the UNDP until 1991. As an intergovernmental organisation, CCOP is strongly oriented towards regional co-operation in its programmes. It is supported financially mainly by its Member Countries, but also benefits from the financial and technical support of its Co-operating Countries as well as the Co-operating Organisations. Currently CCOP has fifteen member countries that include Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Lao PDR,Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam. It is supported by fourteen cooperating countries namely Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russian Federation, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States of America.