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The Sphere Handbook presents a principled approach to quality and accountability in humanitarian response. It is a practical translation of Sphere’s core belief that all people affected by disaster or conflict have a right to life with dignity and the right to receive humanitarian assistance.
The Humanitarian Charter is the cornerstone of the Handbook, with the Protection Principles and Core Humanitarian Standard providing a foundation which informs all sectors of assistance. Technical standards outline priorities to ensure response in four key life-saving sectors: water, sanitation and hygiene promotion; food security and nutrition; shelter and settlement; and health.
The measurable minimum standards describe what needs to be achieved in a humanitarian response in order for people to survive and re-establish their lives and livelihoods in ways that respect their voice and promote their dignity. Key actions, indicators and guidance notes provide ways to apply these standards in diverse context. The chapters are all linked and reinforce each other.
The strength of the Sphere Handbook lies in its universality and adaptability to all humanitarian settings. It enjoys broad ownership in the humanitarian sector and therefore provides a common language for working with all stakeholders towards quality and accountability in humanitarian contexts.
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