An introduction to Sphere
for military audiences
Presenter Name, Affiliation
Revised draft April 2008
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Learning objectives
•To describe what is the Sphere Project and why it is
important
• To describe the difference between
Minimum standards
Key indicators
Guidance notes
• To examine some of the potential issues arising from
armed forces taking on typically civilian roles
•To look at some examples of Sphere in Practice
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What is Sphere?
• Declaration that populations affected by conflict
and calamity have a right to assistance
• Commitment towards a defined and measurable level
of competence and delivery
• Distillation of current global knowledge and experience
into a practical tool for:
- individuals
- their organisations
- the humanitarian community
• Challenge to all actors in the humanitarian community
for increased accountability and quality
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Why Sphere?
• NGO concern with quality and accountability
• Historic practice no longer sufficient
- Increasing complexity of disasters
- Numbers of disasters increasing
- Changing nature of humanitarian community
- Increasing number of actors with different measures
of success
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Goal of Sphere Project
‘To improve the quality of assistance
provided to people affected by
disasters, and improve the
accountability of states and
humanitarian agencies to their
constituents, their donors and their
beneficiaries’
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Extensive consultation
1997 Initial
consultation
2000 handbook
launched
2004 handbook
revised edition
4000+
people
80 countries
around the world
400
organisations
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Humanitarian Charter:
Informed by international law
• Right to life with dignity
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Civil, political, economic and social
covenants
- The Geneva Conventions
- Convention against Torture
• The distinction between
- Rights of the Child
combatants and
non-combatants
- Geneva Conventions
- Rights of the Child
• The principal of non-refoulement
- Convention on the Status of Refugees
- Convention against Torture
- Rights of the Child
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The Code of Conduct for the International RC/RC
Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief
1. The Humanitarian imperative comes first
2. …Aid priorities are calculated on the basis of need alone
3. Aid will not be used to further a particular political or religious
standpoint
4. We shall endeavour not to act as instruments of government
foreign policy
5. We shall respect culture and custom
10. In our information, publicity and advertising activities, we
shall recognize disaster victims as dignified humans, not
hopeless objects
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HEAVY!
The Humanitarian Charter
Fine, but how do we move this thing?
The Humanitarian Charter
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Tools to put principles and values into action
Introduction
What is Sphere?
The Code
of Conduct
2004
Edition
The Humanitarian
Charter
Standards common
to all sectors
Each Chapter includes
Water Supply, Sanitation
and Hygiene Promotion
• Minimum standards
Food Security, Nutrition
and Food Aid
• Key indicators
Shelter, Settlement
and Non-Food items
• Guidance notes
Health Services
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What is a minimum standard?
The minimum level of service to be
attained in humanitarian assistance
Shelter and settlement standard N° 3 :
covered living space
People have sufficient covered floor space to provide
dignified accommodation.
Look at page 219
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What are key indicators?
Signals that show whether a standard has been attained.
They provide a way of measuring and communicating both
the impact, or result, of programmes as well as the
process, or methods, used.
The indicators may be qualitative or quantitative.
Key indicators
• The initial covered floor area per person is at least 3.5 square metres
• The covered area enables safe separation and privacy between the
sexes, between different age groups and between seperate families
within a given household as required
• Essential household activities can be carried out within the shelter
•
Look at page 219
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What are guidance notes?
They disseminate experience, illuminate areas
of controversy, and help use indicators
properly in context
Guidance notes
“In cold climates, household activities typically take place within
the covered area … A covered floor area in excess of 3.5 square
metres per person will often be required to meet these
considerations ...”
“In the immediate aftermath of a disaster ... A covered area of less
than 3.5 sq metres per person may be appropriate to save life and
to provide adequate short-term shelter to the greatest number of
people in need.”
Look at page 219
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Applications
• Strengthens advocacy
• Measures performance
• Enables coordination
- more than 20 languages
• Informs training curricula
• Promotes participation
• Evaluates policies and procedures
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Challenges
- Multiplication of actors
- Exclusivity of humanitarian action?
- Security
- Coordination
- Blurring of the lines?
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Principles and Practice
- Geneva Conventions/IHL?
- Humanitarian Charter and Code of Conduct?
-Impartial and needs- based?
- Not act as instruments of government foreign policy
or to further a particular political agenda?
- ‘… avoid competing with other disaster response
agencies for media coverage’
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Learning from experience: Pakistan,
October 2005 onwards
-‘Sphere Resource people’ sent to Pakistan
- Military, particularly Pakistan army, provided
about 90% of initial assistance. Helped inform
response:
- Special short introductions on Sphere to
particular groups including military
- Translation of handbook into Urdu initiated
- Longer-term Sphere support planned by
host agency
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Broader Issues Arising
-Natural disaster that struck a conflict-affected
zone (Jammu and Kashmir)
- Logistics needs (helicopters) outstripped the
civilian market
- Proximity of Coalition Forces in Afghanistan
lead to quick deployment of resources
- NATO and others made immediate pledges of
assistance
- Deployment of civil-military response teams
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Sphere Lessons from Pakistan
• Military in Pakistan, as often elsewhere,
positive about using Sphere:
- Highlighted the reality that Sphere is and will
continue to be used by the military
- Poses challenges for Sphere, particularly in
relation to the Humanitarian Charter
- Essential differences between military
involvement in natural disaster and conflictrelated settings
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What is Sphere?
• Declaration that populations affected by conflict
and calamity have a right to assistance
• Commitment towards a defined and measurable level
of competence and delivery
• Distillation of current global knowledge and experience
into a practical tool for:
- individuals
- their organisations
- the humanitarian community
• Challenge to all actors in the humanitarian community
for increased accountability and quality
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www.sphereproject.org
Resources on the web-site include:
• Handbook in English, French, Spanish,
Russian and Arabic
• Training material and trainer’s guide
• Case studies
• Lessons from
institutionalising Sphere
• Annual reports
• Newsletters
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Questions?
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www.sphereproject.org
Contact: [email protected]
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