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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Variables

Variable TypeCategorical
Variable Component TypeActor
Variable KindComponent
ThemeInstitutions (learn about themes)
QuestionWhat type of coordination do the members of this actor group engage in?
Select OptionsNo coordination, Informal, Formal, Both formal and informal
ImportanceInformal vs. formal coordination imply potentially very different types of interactions among the members of a group. A group whose members only interact formally will likely not have as much social capital developed as one that also involves informal. An informally coordination group may not have as much legal legitimacy as a formal one.

Coordination in this case refers to a clear distinction between formal and informal coordination. Formal coordination is governed by formal rules, themselves usually written down. Informal coordination does not rely on formal rules.


Theory Usages

TheoryValue Used

Associated Studies

Study Citation

Component Usages

ComponentValue UsedExplanation
Galapagos Artisan FishermenBoth formal and informalIt is unclear if fishing cooperatives engage in regular formal meetings. However, it is evident that the fishermen coordinate their opinions and concerns, which are then voiced by a cooperative representative at the formal meetings of the Participatory Management Board. Therefore it is likely formal meeting occur.
"New Order" Indonesian Central Government (1965-1998)Both formal and informalThe government was a centralized hierarchy that had a high level of formal coordination. At the same time, informal kinship and clientelist connections between key actors (particularly among Suharto's military allies) played a key role in the forest governance system, enabling many 'friends' of the regime to gain forest concessions and to bend or escape legal consequences for formally illegal activities.
Cenderwasih fishersBoth formal and informalFormal village leaders and informal village practices
Cenderwasih managersBoth formal and informalFormal - MOU between WWF, State University of Papua and Wondama Bay Regency. Informal - collaborations between local governement/park authority and NGOs is mutually beneficial.
Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio)Both formal and informal
Brazilian Institute of the Environment & Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA)Missing
Secretary of State for the Environment of Pará (SEMA) in BrazilMissing
Association of Users in the Caete-Teperacu RESEX (ASSUREMACATA) in BrazilInformal
Isla Caballo AMPR Costa RicaBoth formal and informal
Paquera-Tambor AMPR Costa RicaBoth formal and informal
Misool Eco ResortBoth formal and informal
Indonesian "Adat" CommunitiesBoth formal and informalThis question it refers to two types of collaboration: (1) within each adat community, ; and (2) between adat communities. Adat refers to systems of unwritten, traditional or customary law and as such is considered informal under Ostrom's typology. These informal rules regulate intra-community collaboration. Between adat communities, there has been informal collaboration. For instance, the Dayak in Borneo even had a political party before Suharto's regime, and in recent years a strong social movement has united many Dayak communities in a struggle for socio-ecological resilience; it creates a collective identity for the Dayak people by helping communities build solidarity to face loggers, map their territories, and renew traditional adat laws (Alcorn et al. 2003). Furthermore, adat communities have formally collaborated since 1999 through an organization - AMAN (Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara), the Alliance of Indigenous People of the Archipelago- constituted with support from Jakarta-based NGOs and international donors (USAID, CUSO, and OXFAM among others), building upon a process of mobilization that began with the International Year of Indigenous People in 1993 (Li 2001). AMAN has been at the forefront of struggles against large-scale timber concessions, mining operations and palm oil plantations on indigenous territories.
Large Extractive Industries in Indonesia Does this refer to inter or intra group?
Indonesian Local entrepreneursNo coordinationThis is a group of people who have no definitive relationship with each other - consisting of small district level politicians and business people.
Indonesian District Governments inter or intra? Individual district governments engage in both formal and informal coordination, but there appears to be little if any coordination between district governments
"Reformasi" Indonesian Central Government (1998-2012)Both formal and informalAs a set of government agencies, there is a large amount of formal coordination between agencies and between individuals within agencies.
Civil society organizations in IndonesiaBoth formal and informalCoordination within civil society organizations is structured by written internal rules. Coordination between different civil society organizations is done formally and informally, as with YAPPIKA at the national level.
ICCAT Contracting Parties Both formal and informalICCAT has developed a formal process for analyzing fisheries data and producing recommendations. Recommendations are evaluated by contracting parties in both formal and informal settings, and final quotas are the result of formal and informal bargaining processes.
ICCAT Western MembersInformalThere is no formal organization for Western members, but can coordinate informally.
ICCAT Eastern MembersInformalFormal coordination takes place among ICCAT contracting parties, there is no explicit recognition of Western members as a group.
Ozone Nation States Formal
Ozone Depleting Substance Industrial ProducersBoth formal and informal
Ozone SecretariatBoth formal and informalThe Ozone Secretariat coordinates formal meetings of the Parties but also acts to build capacity of countries with nascent regulatory systems. The Secretariat functions in accordance with article 12 of the Montreal Protocol, and its duties include administration, monitoring implementation, collection and processing of ODS data from the parties to the convention, and providing information concerning the ozone layer.
ICPR nations (1976-1986)FormalMembership in ICPR
ICPR nations (1986-2000)Both formal and informalSee "ICPR Nations (1987-1986)" In this new group, informal coordination in the form of side agreements between pairs of ICPR members more prevalent than in the past and has been pointed as one of the characterizing features of this period of governance
Rhine chemical firmsFormalThis is particularly evident in Germany (with France the main polluting country), which hosts both a German Association of the Chemical Industry (VCI) and the Abwassertechnische Vereinigung (the professional association of German wastewater specialists). At the European level, there is the CEFIC, which is the forum and voice of the European chemical industry. It represents about 40 000 large, medium and small chemical companies in Europe. It is made up of various national chemical industry federations as well as a number of large international companies.
Rhine agricultural sectorBoth formal and informalThe agricultural sector in Europe is very well organized, in the form of both unions and cooperatives; however this organization is for purposes other than pollution abatement
GBR government co-managersFormalThe Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service are mandated under law to co-manage the GBR. Most of their active collaborations are agreed and formal in nature.
GBR recreational fishersBoth formal and informalThere are membership organisations through which some recreational fishers co-ordinate formally. However, for the majority co-ordination would be informal.
Wetfish Fishermen 
GBR fisheries managersBoth formal and informalThey co-ordinate through formal stakeholder meetings and informal organisational networking and communication
GBR commercial fishersBoth formal and informalFormal co-ordination through workshops organised by their member organisation (QSIA) and government. Informal co-ordination at landing sites and markets.
National Marine Sanctuaries Office of NOAABoth formal and informalThere are formal teams, e.g. research team, and offices, but members of this group informally meet and discuss Sanctuary topics often.
Raja Ampat TourismFormalThere are formal guidelines for tourism in Raja Ampat: including tourism enterance fee and a licensing system that caps the number of liveaboards able to operate, etc.
Australian Toothfish FishersBoth formal and informalThey coordinate through fishing operations. Also, these two companies also applied jointly for MSC certification. They are also members of the Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators (COLTO) that lobbies on behalf of legal toothfish operators, pressing for regulations against IUU fishing.
NWHI Monument Co-Trusteeship FormalFormal - a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by the managing institutions established an institutional “co-trusteeship” of the protected area, requiring two federal agencies (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] and the US Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS]) and the State of Hawai‘i to manage the monument collaboratively as “co-trustees” (Kittenger et al. 2011)
Wakatobi Bajau fishersInformalInformal - Bajau have strong cultural identity and traditions
Wakatobi managersBoth formal and informalFormal - TNC-WWF joint programme and MOU with park rangers. Share monitoring and patrolling. Informal - collaborations between local governement/park authority and NGOs is mutually beneficial.
Svalbard Resource ManagersFormal
Australian Antarctic DivisionBoth formal and informalStaff of the AAD include support, policy and science personnel as well as researchers that spend extensive time in the field (in the Antarctic and subantarctic) as well as scientists based at the University of Tasmania, providing opportunity for formal and informal interaction between individuals in this collective group.
GMR managersBoth formal and informalFormal and informal - between and within all organisations on the PMB
Riparian Nations (1976-1986) 
Charles Darwin FoundationMissingFormal coordination as General Assembly, likely with some degree of informal coordination must occur
Galapagos Tourism SectorFormalGalapagos Chamber of Tourism
Raja Ampat Artisanal FishersBoth formal and informalInformal coordination, such as sasi, and formal coordination through the site-specific management plans. The fishermen abide by traditional management practices (sasi) for certain species and follow a strong leadership system that relies on pressure from community members to conserve as much as possible. (Agostini, 2012; Bawole, 2012).
CORALINAFormalTheir activities are codified by the law.
NWHI ResearchersInformalSome coordination through the monument saying what they want, research Qs etc - informal collaboration in response to this.
California Academic ResearchersBoth formal and informalFormal projects consist of multiple members of the research community, while informally collaboration does occur. Some members do not coordinate with other members.
California Sanctuary Recreational UsersBoth formal and informalMany formal activities (e.g. boat races, whale watching boats coordinating with each other, kayak clean up days) exist, but most coordination is informal (e.g. boaters on the weekend, scuba divers with own equipment). Whale watching vessels communicate amongst each other on sightings and help each other find whales.
California Groundfish FishermenBoth formal and informalThe Fishermen’s Marketing Association is a formal group representing trawl vessel owners, skippers, and deck hands and speaks on behalf of the fishermen and tries to establish a stable market. Some processing companies form formal groups of boats they employ. However, most coordination is informal, through friends or family or handshake approved quota-share groups.
California State and Federal Fisheries AgenciesBoth formal and informalWhile most of the group coordination is through formal means (management team meetings, presentations to the Council, public meetings, interagency meetings), many of the members of this actor group formulate relationships with other agency members and fishery participants to formulate management ideas and to incorporate social trends and attitudes.
Australian Fisheries Management AuthorityFormalMembers of the AFMA meet regularly with each other to manage fish resources.
Raja Ampat ManagersFormalFormal. There is a head of the overall MPA network, and each local level MPA has its own head.
Macquarie Island ManagersBoth formal and informalNature reserve management plan and Marine Park Management Plan aim to align conservation policies.
Svalbard TourismBoth formal and informalAECO has a well-defined organizational structure with a Secretariat, an Executive Committee, and several other thematic committees. Their operational guidelines ask companies to coordinate itineraries before the tourist season commences, and to maintain radio contact while at sea to ensure that too many boats are not using the same area at the same time (AECO 2013). In a small town where everyone knows everyone, Evers et al (2013) found that companies recognize the need to respect the formal agreements (the written contracts) and the informal agreements (the ‘cognac deals’).
Seaflower artisanal fishersFormalThere are fishing cooperatives
Svalbard Shrimp FishersMissingUnknown
Galapagos Charles Darwin FoundationFormalFormal - well organised international NGO
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Director of National Parks Both formal and informalThe executive team, which includes the Director and the 4 senior executives, and senior staff meet regularly to address strategic directions and current issues. Marine Division staff also participate in regular meetings, advising the Director on Commonwealth marine reserve issues. Where appropriate, video and telephone links are used to liaise with executive and senior staff that are located in remote locations. Coordination between managers and the executive team includes regular phone link-ups and an annual Parks Australia Forum that involves all senior managers. The Parks Australia Forum would also allow for informal coordination opportunities. Staff also participate in consultative committees to support internal management which would provide opportunity for both formal and information coordination.
GABMP (Commonwealth Waters) Commercial FishersBoth formal and informalMembers of this actor group engage in formal coordination through meetings (AGM, General meetings) organized by the Commonwealth Fisheries Association (CFA), the Great Australian Bight Industry Association (GABIA), the AFMA Commission and Wildcatch Fisheries South Australia (WFSA). Each fishery is covered by a AFMA management advisory committee and a resource assessment group. These groups allow for the exchange of information on fish stocks along with providing an avenue for consultation between various stakeholders in formal meetings. The Commonwealth Fisheries Association, whose membership represents over 95% of the Gross Value of Production (GVP) of Commonwealth managed fisheries, engages in informal coordination through newsletters and Facebook postings. Informal coordination would also take place at landing sites and at markets.
Falkland Islands Government (FIG) Fisheries ManagersBoth formal and informalFormal fisheries meetings within the Fisheries Department (according to FIG website) But also informal coordination. Managers are all in one building, no branches, and all know each other quite closely. To become official everything goes through formal processes, but informally talk about work too.
Patagonian Squid TrawlersBoth formal and informalFormal: “The Falkland Islands Fishing Companies Association (FIFCA) FIFCA was established by the Fisheries (Conservation and Management) Ordinance 2005. The Association represents the interests of all holders of fisheries quota under the 25-year Falklands Individual Transferable Quota system (‘ITQ’). We work with our members to ensure that industry views are put before relevant bodies in areas of interest to the industry, participate in a number of committees and jointly fund and provide resources for the advancement of knowledge regarding the fishery, including its biological, operational, environmental and economic aspects.” (FIFCA 2015). The Loligo Producers Association is a subgroup of FIFCA. Informal: All the fishermen know each other. The Falkland Islanders are very close. The Spanish masters have all been doing this for many years and all know each other. The crew are retained year after year and are recruited from the same places.
New Zealand Fishery ManagersBoth formal and informalPrimarily formal coordination, somewhat informal. All know each other closely.
New Zealand Arrow Squid FishersBoth formal and informalDWG is formal coordination. But a lot of these owners know each other socially. Mostly professional relationships, but discuss informally as well.
California market squid fishermenBoth formal and informalFishers all know each other (many are family members) and frequently coordinate informally. Coordinate officially through the California Wetfish Producers Association.
Indonesian Institute of Sciences - LIPINot Applicable
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Market Squid ManagersBoth formal and informalFormal meetings, but close community.
Lombok aquaculture farmersBoth formal and informalAquaculture farmers need to formally self-organize into groups (max. 10 people) to apply for government subsidy aid. Farmers also cooperate informally in other ways.
SCUBA diving businesses on Gili TrawanganBoth formal and informal
Gili Indah Dive Association (GIDA)Both formal and informal
Gili EcoTrust on Gili TrawanganBoth formal and informal
Palito-Montero AMPR Costa RicaBoth formal and informal