The CHS becomes a foundation chapter of the Sphere Handbook

7 November 2018

On 6 November Sphere launched the new edition of its flagship publication, the Sphere Handbook. In this latest version, The Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS), besides the Humanitarian Charter, is now one of the founding chapters of the Handbook to facilitate greater accountability to people affected by crisis, staff, donors, partners, governments and other stakeholders.

The Nine Commitments of the CHS remain unchanged, but the Guidance Notes and Indicators have been revised to better respond to users’ needs.

What is new?

Focus on people: The 2018 Handbook focuses even more on strengthening community engagement and measuring the quality of a programme through this engagement.

Support to local Action: Supporting and enhancing local ownership of response and recovery is a key approach in all four technical chapters. Successful interventions in health, nutrition, hygiene promotion, livelihoods support and shelter depend on working with, and through, national, local and community structures.

Context-sensitive programming: The 2018 Handbook is even more focused on contextualising the standards to apply them to their full potential. A new flowchart supports analysis and decision-making in context.

New standards and guidance

Humanitarian experience, learning and evidence have contributed new elements to this edition:

  • A restructured Shelter and Settlement chapter, including security of tenure and explicitly considering long-term displacement.
  • A new section on using cash-based assistance and supply chain management.
  • A new standard on WASH in healthcare settings, highlighting the role of communities and facilities in disease outbreaks.
  • A new standard on sexual violence and clinical management of rape, highlighting the critical role of prevention, treatment and support.
  • A new standard on palliative care, reflecting changes in global demographics, protracted displacement, non-communicable disease prevalence and protracted settings.

Improved standards, indicators and guidance notes

The standards are reformatted to better respond to users’ needs and working in context.

  • Standards are more consistently outcome-oriented.
  • Key actions now include sub-actions and examples.
  • Key indicators now provide measurable aspects of progress to achieve
  • the standard.
  • Guidance notes support actions and indicators with more information
  • and links to related standards.

The Sphere Handbook is free to everyone. It is currently available in English, Spanish, French and Arabic. The new Handbook is the result of an extensive consultation process, involving stakeholders from around the globe.