PHAP hosted an online briefing session on 27 April as part of its partnership with Sphere for the revision process of the Sphere Handbook. Following two revisions in 2004 and 2011, Sphere recently published the first draft of a new version of the Sphere standards that will be published in 2018 reflecting the evolving needs of people affected by disaster and armed conflict. More than a hundred participants joined the session, which provided an overview of the main proposed changes to the standards and an opportunity to hear directly from the lead chapter authors and the Sphere secretariat.
PHAP is also organizing the online consultations for the first revision, which are open until 31 May. Practitioners are encouraged to provide their input on a survey on specific technical issues identified by the lead chapter authors as well as their overall input on the first draft texts through the online feedback form.
Aninia Nadig from Sphere started off the session by introducing the revision process and highlighting three main overall changes in the first draft: a new clearer structure allowing for the adaptation of the standards in different contexts, a greater focus on accessibility, and the replacement of the Core Standards by the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS).
Takeshi Komino, co-leading the CHS revision, clarified that the content of the CHS will not be modified – only the text is being adapted to fit the Handbook layout, and noted that they are currently seeking input from practitioners on the guidance notes and indicators.
Catherine Cowley, member of the writing team for the Protection Principles chapter, highlighted the importance of mainstreaming protection more consistently throughout the Handbook, and mentioned three main change within the protection principles: greater clarity, accessibility, and linkage with existing standards.
Kit Dyer, co-leading the WASH chapter revision, pointed out that the revision included a shift to a risk management-based approach to the WASH standards, and presented the possibility of having additional cross-sector standards on WASH and Nutrition, as well as WASH and Health.
Daniel Wanganga, leading the Food Security sub-chapter revision, gave an overview of the main changes in this section: “Food Transfer” standards are now renamed as “Food Assistance,” the “Cash and Vouchers” section will be fully integrated under Food Assistance, and the “Supply Chain Management” standard has been moved to an annex in order to address all sectors.
Paul Wasike, leading the Nutrition sub-chapter revision, especially requested survey answers and input from practitioners on the introduction of outcome indicators and thresholds and on the introduction of a component on treatment in the micronutrient deficiency section.
Ela Serdaroglu, co-leading the Shelter chapter revision, presented the new structure of the chapter, which aims to better reflect the level of complexity of shelter and settlements programming, and the “household items” section, replacing the section on non-food items under Shelter.
Judith Harvie, co-leading the Health chapter revision, shared the main improvements adopted in this chapter such as the use of outcome indicators and output indicators and thresholds, a new standard on palliative care, and the reference to specific non-communicable diseases in humanitarian crises.
If you missed this session, you can read more about the event and find the recordings at https://phap.org/27apr2017