Fostering greater coherence among humanitarian standards

Sphere standards have from the outset focused on key life-saving areas of humanitarian response: water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion; food security and nutrition; shelter, settlement and non-food items; and health action.

However crucial the above-mentioned areas are, they do not exhaust the components of the humanitarian response to disaster or conflict. Sphere has therefore recognised standards produced by other organisations and networks active in such specific sectors as companion standards to its own Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response.

To date, the Sphere Board has established companionship agreements with the following initiatives:

Companion standards share a similar rights-based approach and are developed in a broad consultative and consensus-based manner. They become formally related and cross-reference each other. They provide humanitarian professionals with a pool of harmonised sets of quality standards that are easy to refer to and to use.

Building on this successful, tried and tested bilateral companionship model, Sphere and its companion standards have resolved to deepen their collaboration by building a new Humanitarian Standards Partnership.

The Partnership aims to further develop coherence and complementarity among the standards involved, so that humanitarian practitioners are able to move easily between them. To achieve this, it works to improve links between standards, increase cross-references and eliminate inconsistencies.

The ultimate goal of this humanitarian standards ecosystem is to help humanitarians deliver higher quality protection and assistance in a more accountable manner.

► Interested in becoming a companion standard to the Sphere Handbook? Download the application package.

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