The Sphere Handbook is the oldest initiative in the field of humanitarian standards. It has been field-tested over twenty years and regularly updated to ensure it remains fit for purpose in a changing world. What does not change is its rights-based foundations: people have the right to assistance, the right to life with dignity, the right to protection and security, and the right to fully participate in decisions related to their own recovery.
The Sphere Handbook 2018 was launched on 6 November 2018. This launch also marked the 20th anniversary of the Sphere movement, established originally as a time-limited project which has grown into a community of purpose spanning the globe.
The 2018 Sphere Handbook builds on the latest developments and learning in the humanitarian sector. Among the improvements of the new edition, readers will find a stronger focus on the role of local authorities and communities as actors of their own recovery. Guidance on context analysis to apply the standards has also been strengthened. New standards have also been developed, informed by recent practice and learning, such as WASH and healthcare settings in disease outbreaks, security of tenure in shelter and settlement, and palliative care in health. Different ways to deliver or enable assistance, including cash-based assistance, are also integrated into the Handbook.
The Sphere standards are periodically revised to make sure the Handbook reflects new evidence and evolving practice in the humanitarian sector. Previous editions of the Sphere Handbook are available in over 30 languages.