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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Variables

Variable TypeOrdinal
Variable Component TypeActor
Variable KindComponent
ThemeLeadership (learn about themes)
ProjectsSESMAD, Fiji fisheries
QuestionHow accountable are the leaders to the other members of the group?
Select Options1 Low, 2 Medium, 3 High
ImportanceThis variable is important because affects whether or not leaders act on behalf of the group’s interest. This is crucial, as leadership authority, expertise and sense of opportunity might all work towards improved resource management or the opposite depending on the intent of the group leader/s (Theesfeld 2009).

"Leadership accountability ascertains whether there are de facto mechanisms that enable the actors in a group to make the group leader/s liable for their decisions vis a vis resource governance. There are formal and informal mechanisms through which leaders can be held accountable, including from voting, reporting and financial auditing, to public hearings and other forms of personal communication (Madrigal, Alpizar, and Schluter 2010). Accountability can happen vertically, between a leader and other members of the group, and horizontally between leaders of the same group (Fox 1992). High: occurs when mechanisms of accountability are very effective and actors the leader represents are able to invoke/use them (e.g., when an elected official is not re-elected/or impeached because actors do not agree with his/her leadership or actions) Low: actors are not able to use accountability mechanisms, or no or very few accountability mechanisms exists"


Theory Usages

TheoryValue Used
Accountable leadershipHigh
Centralization and corruptionLow
Conditions for general resilienceModerate or High

Associated Studies

Study Citation

Component Usages

ComponentValue UsedExplanation
Galapagos Artisan FishermenHigh (3)Leaders (Presidents) are elected by the members of the fishing cooperative. Presidents are subject to the scrutiny of the unionized members of their cooperatives, and may be changed or deprived of their positions if internal conflicts arise.
"New Order" Indonesian Central Government (1965-1998)Low (1)Suharto was a dictator with little accountability to others working in the government, or to citizens.
Civil society organizations in IndonesiaLow (1)During the Suharto regime, civil society organizations were limited and controlled by the government (Antlove et al. 2005); thus, they had very limited accountability, to Suharto and his allies. Moreover, most of the organizations were NGOs supported by donors which, as stated by advocacy-oriented activists in a motion of no-confidence motion in a 1995 meeting, "had merely become the extended arm and implementing agencies of the authoritarian government and had lost its commitment towards change." (Antlove et al. 2005) They were criticized for hierarchy, bureaucracy, co-optation and lack of internal accountability (ibid). After the fall of Suharto, there has been a significant growth in civil society and its organizations. Antlove et al note that the effects of the Suharto period are felt today in the form of elitism and little effective grassroots participation among NGOs, but that there is an increasing call for accountability from citizens to these organizations. "Right at the moment when there is a lack of confidence among civil actors about what they are actually able to achieve and how to achieve it, both the internal governance of CSOs [civil society organizations] as well as their external performance in the public domain are becoming subject of greater scrutiny....The general public, the media as well as state actors, are increasingly complaining about the lack of accountability of NGOs and other civil society organizations....There have been newspaper articles about the “Billion rupiah business of NGO” (Bisnin Milyaran LSM) and allegations of corruption and misuse. " At the same time, the authors point out that beginning in the 2000s there have been a number of initiatives to improve CSO governance (e.g. transparency and accountability), which are beginning to solidify. This includes a 2001 law (Law 16/2001) which was a breakthrough for good governance of the non-profit sector in Indonesia, " as it provided assurance and legal certainty, as well as restored the yayasan’s [foundations'] function as a non-profit institution with social, religious and humanitarian goals." So we could say accountability is low but increasing.
ICCAT Contracting Parties  
ICCAT Western Members 
ICCAT Eastern Members N/A
Ozone Nation States  Not applicable
GBR government co-managersLow (1)The leaders of these organisations are accountable to Federal and State governments respectively rather than to employees (members of the group).
GBR recreational fishersMedium (2)Leaders are voted in and out by the associations' members. Most recreational fishers are not part of these associations though they could elect to become members.
National Marine Sanctuaries Office of NOAAMedium (2)Leaders are expected to follow guidelines set by national standards and to their employees, however a lack of appropriate leadership may take some time to be recognized and a substitute provided for.
Wakatobi Bajau fishersHigh (3)Village heads are elected every 3-5 years, standardised procedure.
NWHI ResearchersNot Applicable
California Sanctuary Recreational UsersLow (1)Informal leaders must abide by laws and make way for other users (e.g. kayakers have to watch out for whale watching boats) and any violation of law can be enforced by the correct authorities. Higher accountability for recreational fishers and avoidance of overexploitation of target species.
California Groundfish FishermenLow (1)Leaders typically speak on behalf of the other fishermen, but are not expected to represent all fishermen.
California State and Federal Fisheries AgenciesHigh (3)The chair and vice-chair positions are voted on by the voting members of the Council. Any such chair that is deemed to not be managing appropriately can be out-voted by council members.
Raja Ampat TourismHigh (3)Tourism department of Raja Ampat government
Svalbard TourismHigh (3)At each annual general meeting, there are elections held for the positions on each committee of AECO. Since AECO members pay an annual fee, (likely which helps to pay for salaried positions) we would expect the Executive Director to have high accountability to the member organizations.
Community HMedium (2)3.61/5. This value indicates that on average levels of trust in leaders falls between neither trust nor distrust (3) and trust more than distrust (4).
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Director of National Parks Low (1)The Director of National Parks is accountable to Federal and State governments respectively rather than to employees (members of the group).
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Commercial FishersMedium (2)CFA staff and board have to report the outcomes of the modus operandi to the membership that includes: quarterly reports, an annual review, annual financial accounts and an annual report. Although, only some fishers are members of the Association.
Falkland Islands Government (FIG) Fisheries ManagersMedium (2)While there are formal processes to hold managers accountable, such as the Internal Review Process, such processes are not especially strong. Managers find themselves accountable and hold themselves to professional standards. But yes held to their actions, though fisheries it is difficult to ascertain fault.
New Zealand Fishery ManagersMedium (2)Professionally held accountable, but not to the law.
New Zealand Arrow Squid FishersHigh (3)High social pressure.
SCUBA diving businesses on Gili TrawanganMedium (2)
Gili Indah Dive Association (GIDA)High (3)
Misool Eco Resort 
Indonesian "Adat" Communities missing in case
Large Extractive Industries in Indonesia not applicable (no leader)
Indonesian Local entrepreneurs Not applicable.
Indonesian District Governments Does this refer to inter or intra group? Individual district leaders have medium levels of accountability to their district, but no accountability to other districts.
"Reformasi" Indonesian Central Government (1998-2012)Medium (2)The president is accountable to the general public (through elections and through the legislative and judicial branches), and the other sections of government make up a part of that group, however they are not the primary people to whom the president is accountable. Furthermore, there have been suggestions that even after the instigation of democracy, the government remains highly oligarchical (Fukuoka 2013) and that the main change has been a decentralization of patronage networks (previously centralized under Suharto) and a redistribution of riches to elites previously excluded from Suharto's group of allies (Fukukoka 2013b).
Ozone Depleting Substance Industrial ProducersLow (1)Not applicable.
Ozone SecretariatLow (1)
ICPR nations (1976-1986)Medium (2)Leadership is informal and thus there are not institutional mechanisms to make The Netherlands accountable; however, there are mechanisms of transparency and judicial procedures hosted by the European Union.
ICPR nations (1986-2000)Low (1)See "ICPR Nations (1987-1986)"
Rhine chemical firms 
Rhine agricultural sector 
Wetfish Fishermen 
GBR fisheries managersLow (1)Accountable to State government not employees
GBR commercial fishersMedium (2)The staff of the QSIA are somewhat accountable to the commercial fishing sectors, although they cannot be formally voted in or out by the sector. And only some fishers are members of the association.
Australian Toothfish FishersMissing
NWHI Monument Co-Trusteeship High (3)
Wakatobi managersNot Applicable
Svalbard Resource ManagersHigh (3)All members are working towards the same/similar goals.
Australian Antarctic DivisionMedium (2)
GMR managersHigh (3)
Riparian Nations (1976-1986) 
Charles Darwin FoundationHigh (3)CDF is managed by an executive director who is appointed by a board.
Galapagos Tourism SectorHigh (3)Assume governement agency accountable
Raja Ampat Artisanal FishersHigh (3)The village leader is elected by the other community members to oversee all sasi practices, therefore their decisions directly affect everyone in the group and make them accountable (Mcleod, 2009)
CORALINANot Applicable
California Academic ResearchersLow (1)Principal investigators are accountable to their own institutions, projects, and funders but typically not to other members of the group.
Community CHigh (3)4.32/5: This indicates that on average levels of trust in leaders falls between Trust More Than Distrust (4) and Trust Entirely (5)
Community DHigh (3)4.64/5: This value indicates that on average levels of trust in leaders falls between trust more than distrust (4) and entirely trust (5)
Seaflower artisanal fishersMissingNO DATA
Community AHigh (3)4.12/5. This measure indicates that average levels of trust in leaders falls somewhere between trust more than distrust and entirely trust. This measure assumes that levels of trust correspond to accountability.
Community BMedium (2)3/5. On average community members neither trust nor distrust local leaders. This measure assumes that levels of trust correspond to levels of accountability.
Australian Fisheries Management AuthorityMedium (2)AFMA, as a government agency, has a bureaucratic structure.
Raja Ampat ManagersHigh (3)Formally appointed.
Macquarie Island ManagersLow (1)Leaders of each group are not formally accountable to one another.
Community GMedium (2)3.67/5: This value indicates that levels of trust in other members of the community falls between neither trust nor distrust (3) and trust more than distrust(4).
Community EMedium (2)3.88/5: This indicates that on average respondents level of trust in leaders falls between neither trust nor distrust (3) and trust more than distrust (4).
Svalbard Shrimp FishersNot Applicable
Community FMedium (2)3.36/5: Average level of trust in leaders from members of the community indicates that it falls somewhere between neither trusting nor distrusting (3) and Trust more than distrust (4).
Galapagos Charles Darwin FoundationHigh (3)CDF is managed by an executive director who is appointed by a board.
Cenderwasih fishersHigh (3)Leaders are elected, and the communitites will speak out if their leaders misbehave (socio-economic basline survey 2008)
Cenderwasih managers 
Patagonian Squid TrawlersHigh (3)Leaders rotate, and those that cause trouble are dealt with by the group.
California market squid fishermenMedium (2)No formal way to hold accountability, but socially important.
Indonesian Institute of Sciences - LIPINot Applicable
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Market Squid ManagersLow (1)While leaders could be held accountable, this is rare. Professionally held accountable.
Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio)Missing
Brazilian Institute of the Environment & Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA)Missing
Isla Caballo AMPR Costa RicaLow (1)
Paquera-Tambor AMPR Costa RicaHigh (3)
Secretary of State for the Environment of Pará (SEMA) in BrazilMissing
Association of Users in the Caete-Teperacu RESEX (ASSUREMACATA) in BrazilLow (1)
Lombok aquaculture farmersLow (1)
Gili EcoTrust on Gili TrawanganHigh (3)
Palito-Montero AMPR Costa RicaLow (1)