From the unparalleled consultative process which nurtured the revision of the Handbook to the growth of its global community, many achievements marked 2017 as an important year in Sphere's history. 2017 represented the first year of Sphere’s operations as an independent organization. Since 2016, the Sphere Project has transitioned from a time-limited initiative to more fully develop its global role as a convening platform for quality and accountability in the humanitarian sector.
Facing a host of natural hazards and recurring emergencies, both Chile and the Philippines have recently taken steps to embed the Sphere standards into national regulations on emergency response.
Six humanitarian standards bearers announce the launch of a joint mobile application.
From its establishment as a non-profit association to laying the groundwork for the revision of its Handbook to the growth of its network of practitioners, a series of achievements have marked 2016 as an extremely fruitful year for Sphere.
The most significant development of the year was the establishment of Sphere as a non-profit association, transitioning from its history as a hosted project under the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and later the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA).
The revised Sphere standards will provide clearer, better integrated and more practical guidelines on gender and humanitarian action.
By Mireia Cano Viñas ()*
The sector's key handbook is being revised to offer guidance on what actions aid agencies and others should take in cities.
By Pamela Sitko, Citiscope (*)
How does humanitarian action in urban areas ensure quality and accountability? A key part of the answer lies in what's known as the Sphere standards - which are little known outside of humanitarian circles but guide post-disaster and crisis response by governments, NGOs, the military, the United Nations and others.
A new version of the Sphere Training Package customised to the Syria response is available for download in Arabic from the Sphere website.
This new version of the Sphere training pack was developed by the Sphere community to strengthen the capacity of humanitarian staff working in and around Syria. It seeks to help them professionalise and improve the effectiveness, quality and accountability of the response.
The training package includes the following modules:
Las Autoridades Nacionales de la Gestión de Desastres (NDMAs) son con frecuencia, aunque no siempre, la principal institución nacional con el mandato de coordinar y gestionar todos los aspectos relacionados con la mitigación, la preparación y la respuesta a desastres, a través de sus oficinas nacionales y provinciales respectivas. Muchas de estas autoridades han adoptado ahora políticas y directrices de gestión de desastres, algunas de las cuales hacen referencia explícita a las normas humanitarias.
National disaster management policies and guidelines benefit from building on and incorporating references to international humanitarian standards. But what does it take to link both and how can humanitarian professionals engage with National Disaster Management Authorities to achieve that goal?
Applying humanitarian standards in urban situations has been a challenge for a long time. This guide provides practical guidance on how to do so and seeks to understand how best to integrate the requirements of urban contexts into the next edition of the Sphere Handbook.
By Christine Knudsen (*)
When disaster strikes, it is critical to pay special attention to the situation of those who may be disenfranchised, at heightened risk, and with fewer resources for protection and action.
I had the honour last week to present Sphere's work as a panelist at the Human Rights Council's 9th Forum on Minority Issues. It was telling of our world today that the session was focused for the first time on minorities in situations of humanitarian crisis.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, 60 aid workers attended a training on Sphere principles and standards in Haiti.
Hurricane Matthew made landfall in southwestern Haiti on 4 October. It was the deadliest Atlantic hurricane of the last decade. With at least 546 fatalities, possibly as many as 1,600, as well as damages estimated in USD $2.25 billion, Haiti was the hardest-hit country in the hurricane's path.
Over 2,800 users in 149 countries shared their views on the Sphere Handbook. Nine out of ten say the Handbook is useful in their daily work.
In April 2016, the Sphere Project office invited humanitarians to take an online survey on their use of the Sphere Handbook. With the usual caveat (*) that applies to this type of survey, the results indicate the large outreach of the Sphere community of practitioners and a high level of satisfaction among them.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a country four times bigger than France, has gone through recurrent humanitarian crises for the last 20 years. In that context, Boniface N. Deagbo has been promoting Sphere standards for almost a decade.
Humanitarian standards help governments, communities and the humanitarian system at large put people affected by crisis or conflict at the centre of humanitarian response, but not without challenges. After decades of improvements within the sector, it is time to renew a collective commitment towards quality and accountability.
The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul tackled many crucial subjects, including the issue of how organisations and individuals can strengthen the quality of humanitarian response and deepen their accountability through the use of standards.
Sphere for Urban Settings, a new publication in the ‘Sphere unpacked' series that fills a gap in current guidance on how to implement humanitarian standards across different contexts, is now available for field testing.
Applying global humanitarian standards in urban situations has been a challenge for a long time. In the run-up to the upcoming Handbook revision, Sphere is looking into the topic to provide guidance and to understand how best to integrate the requirements of urban contexts in the next edition of the Handbook.
From dilemmas in applying humanitarian principles at field level to organisational obstacles that hinder collective accountability and governmental reluctance to abide by humanitarian standards, a range of concrete challenges were candidly discussed during a side event to the latest Sphere Board meeting.
A new training module on the Core Humanitarian Standard and its usage in conjunction with the Sphere Handbook is now available in Arabic,
By Erik Johnson ()*
We humanitarians often get it wrong. We hand out food to displaced families, only to see it appear on the market so that they can buy what they really want. Near distribution sites, we put little cardboard boxes to solicit feedback and complaints, and then struggle to synthesise the handwritten notes into a meaningful pattern, to adjust our aid programmes to meet the real needs and wants of those whom we're trying to help.
In early 2015, the Sphere Board adopted a new strategic plan — Sphere 2020 — which provides the structure for this Annual Report. With four operational priority areas and two supporting components, the report reflects the dynamic work of a growing community of practitioners and advocates who are laying the groundwork for a coherent and holistic approach to quality and accountability.