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Sphere Project: handbook revision (2002 – 2003)

Since the launching of the first edition of the Sphere handbook (2000), over 25,000 volumes have been sold and the handbook has been translated into 15 languages (eight spontaneously). Handbook feedback forms, the text of the first edition and additional information can be found at www.sphereproject.org. A revised edition of the handbook will be published in late 2003. In Spring 2003, a draft of the revised text will be available on the website.

Sphere handbook review process

The revision's purposes are: to strengthen the link between the Humanitarian Charter and the Minimum Standards; to update the qualitative and quantitative indicators and guidance notes as needed; to address cross-cuttings issues such as children, women, the elderly, disabled, HIV-AIDS, and the environment; to enhance linkages between sectors; to iron out inconsistencies, faults and important omissions from the first edition; and to eliminate repetitive text. In addition, as per an earlier commitment by the Sphere Management Committee, Minimum Standards relating to Food Security will be developed as part of this process. This will build on the work already done in this area, including the Inter-Agency Workshop in 2001 on Minimum Standards for Food Security in Disaster Response, organised by Oxfam GB. The nutrition, food security and food aid focal points will be working closely together to ensure their respective standards are well integrated.

Six Focal Points and the Sphere project office will undertake this work over one year. Each Focal Point will work in their own particular way based on their sector-specific needs. All Focal Points are committed to a broad-based consultative process with feedback and input from field-based users paramount and with an emphasis on consultation with the agencies that are regularly using the handbook in disaster response. Comments are encouraged from national and international NGOs, UN agencies, donor governments, governments where disaster response frequently takes place and academic institutions. Individuals from NGO and UN HQs as well as those from academic institutions will participate as reviewers to the revision.

To make sure that you and your agency's experience, insights and technical expertise inform the Sphere handbook revision, please either fill out a handbook feedback form (due September 30, 2002) and submit it to the project office or contact the relevant Focal Point.

Who to contact

The six Focal Points listed below come from NGO agencies that have generously donated staff resources. In addition to their regular work with their respective agencies, these staff are responsible for managing the revision process. Please contact the Focal Points listed below with any names, contacts, suggestions, recommendations or comments!

Water and Sanitation: Andy Bastable, Oxfam GB (abastable@oxfam.uk.org)
Nutrition: Anna Taylor, Save the Children UK (a.taylor@scfuk.org.uk)
Food Aid: John Solomon, CARE USA (Jsolomon@care.org)
Shelter & Site: Graham Saunders, Catholic Relief Services (graham.saunders@crsbh.ba)
Health Services: Rick Brennan, International Rescue Committee (brennan@theirc.org)
Food Security: Helen Young, Tufts University (Helen.young@tufts.edu) This position is exceptional in that it is contracted.

The Sphere Project, PO Box 372,1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland. sphere@ifrc.org

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Reference this page

Sphere Project: handbook revision (2002 – 2003). Field Exchange 16, August 2002. p8. www.ennonline.net/fex/16/sphere