Sphere Handbook revision: Ready for your input!

22 April 2017 | Sphere Project

The revision of the Sphere Handbook has reached its first milestone as the public consultation phase begins today. The first draft of the Sphere revised standards is now available for review and feedback. Humanitarian practitioners around the globe are encouraged to share their comments and input now!

The first draft of the next Sphere standards is now available for review and can be downloaded from the Sphere website.

The revision writing team has built on analysis, new evidence and inputs from peer review groups since they met in January. During the first phase of the process, some 500 contributors worked across six chapters to lay the ground for the next generation of the Sphere standards.

With that work in place to frame the next phase of consultation, input and feedback is needed over the coming months to reflect global practice and experience from different operational contexts.

Because this is a work in progress, the drafts are only available in English. However, feedback and inputs are welcome in Arabic, French and Spanish as well. You can download any or all chapters at once from the Sphere website.

The deadline to submit feedback on the first draft has been extended to 30 June 2017. The first round of in-person consultation events takes place up to the end of June

This first draft begins to move the standards from a text-heavy format to a clearer table style which draws out indicators, thresholds and targets and encourages the reader to think more about context. Common terminology is beginning to build greater consistency across chapters. Drivers of future humanitarian response such as cash transfer programming, urban response or environmental concerns are grouped and woven throughout the chapters. A stronger introduction to the Handbook and guidance to using the standards in context is also included.

► Would you like to learn more about what’s new in the first draft of the next Sphere standards? Watch this webinar with members of the revision writing team (90 min.).


"We are very conscious of the fact that Draft 1 is a rough cut, a true work in progress, and we're excited about the next phase of our far-reaching consultation," says Sphere Executive Director Christine Knudsen. "That's precisely what makes the contribution of humanitarians around the world so valuable and crucial at this stage."

"The lead authors, revision writing teams and review groups have laid out the directions and set a clear foundation on which practitioners can now actively build and help us craft humanitarian standards that address their own concerns and reflect their own knowledge," Knudsen adds.

"We will be coming back to all contributors again in September to share the revised text based on their feedback and look to practitioners to again help us validate the Handbook before we publish it in 2018."


How to participate and share your contribution

There are three ways in which you can contribute to shape the future Sphere standards and make them your own.


1. Offer feedback on the first draft by 30 June (extended deadline)

The content of this first draft is presented in several chapters, each broken down into sub-sections. A chapter overview will help you find the sub-section in which you are interested.

After reading the draft version of the revised standards, please share your feedback through this online form (also available as a Word file for those with unreliable internet access).


2. Take a survey on key sectoral issues by 16 June (extended deadline)

The lead authors and revision writing teams have put together a series of questions about key issues to the humanitarian community through an online survey (available in English, Arabic, French and Spanish).

The survey is structured according to the Handbook chapters. You are invited to share your views on any or all of the issues put forward. Depending on your choices, the survey may take between 10 and 60 minutes to complete.


3. Host a consultation or participate in one

In-person consultation events at local, regional, community or organisation level provide important perspectives from different operational contexts.

The first round of consultation events takes place up to the end of June. You can find out whether there is an event near you in the Sphere calendar or propose an event yourself.

Any organisation or individual can host consultations with their partners, staff and constituents (a toolkit for organisers is available on the Sphere website). Please submit your event through the Sphere calendar.


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