The Landscape of leadership in environmental governance: a Case study from Solomon Islands

Sustainability science suggests a core set of factors that foster significant change in governance, with leaders and entrepreneurs often identified as the main instigators. Discussions of leadership in governance transformations often focus on key charismatic people, underplaying contestation and the complex landscape of leadership. We present an empirical study that uses a participatory network mapping approach to provide a broader examination of leadership in integrated conservation and development. We use the Coral Triangle Initiative in Solomon Islands as an example of potential transformation in environmental governance across multiple objectives. Our analysis shows that actants, other than key individuals, enact leadership. We illustrate that a different suite of actants are providing leadership for each of the three Coral Triangle Initiative objectives. Actants can enact leadership by positively and negatively influencing different goals to varying extents. Our study illustrates the potential of broader and more nuanced understandings of leadership in environmental governance.