top of page

Guernica 37 Forum

Luís Moreno Ocampo & Pablo de Greiff at the Guernica 37 Forum 2022.jpg

Attempts to define accountability tend to fall short of capturing all contours of the term, or they fail to overcome a sense of ambiguity or uncertainty. We operate under the conviction that, as members of a practice in crisis, we need to better understand what is involved in the process of seeking and achieving accountability and how it works. The notion is often reduced to a one-dimensional depiction: accountability as punishment.


Accountability should not be an end in and of itself, but a means to restore the legitimacy of public power and authority, with the desired consequence of re-establishing trust and social ties. Based on this understanding, we have created the program we call, the Guernica 37 Forum. At the Forum, with the leadership of our advisor Pablo de Greiff, we are actively analysing and learning about how accountability actually works, including how some of the following purposes that are pursued actually work and how they interact and overlap:


1) Transparency

2) Control

3) Redress

4) Retribution/punishment

5) Deterrence and prevention


Based on the extant academic literature on the subject, the approach, as undertaken by the Forum, has the benefit of allowing the adjustment and the combination of mechanisms to respond through context-sensitive approaches to local expectations and preferences. It also allows for gradual adaptation of responses.


Our understanding of accountability is evolving, and results of the work done at the Forum enhance our country operations and feed into our dissemination and communication activities. This critical understanding of the field gives us a particular standing on the global stage to participate actively and constructively in policy debates.


The Forum aims at producing some explanatory and concrete understanding of why it is reasonable to expect that taking certain courses of action would lead to certain consequences. We aim to propose specific social mechanisms and identify pathways to change. This effort is being used to better orient the methods and practices we use to tailor our approach to specific situations, and better account for political, economic, and cultural factors that impact our work. This reflexive approach allows us and other stakeholders to understand what we do and why we do it.

Pablo de Greiff, Almudena Bernabeu & Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein at the Guernica 37 Forum 2022.jpg
bottom of page