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New companion standards to the Sphere Handbook

The two sets of standards are the Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) and the Small Enterprise Education and Promotion (SEEP) Network’s Minimum Economic Recovery Standards. Both were accepted as companion standards by the Sphere Project Board at its 18-19 May meeting in Johannesburg.

As economic recovery and livestock management are crucial to the livelihoods of people affected by disasters or armed conflicts, the use of both sets of standards as companions to the Sphere Handbook will help ensure that these crucial linkages are considered from the outset in humanitarian responses to emergencies.

The Sphere Board decision acknowledges the quality of both sets of standards as well as the broad consultative processes that led to their development. These two new companionships are expected to improve the quality of humanitarian assistance and enhance the accountability of humanitarian actors.

By establishing companionship agreements the Sphere Project acknowledges the growing emphasis on quality and accountability within a changing humanitarian sector. This approach allows the Sphere Handbook to keep its focus on core life-saving sectors without developing new Sphere standards for other sectors in which quality standards have already been developed by other initiatives.

Companionship agreements aim to promote complementarity rather than competition. Companion standards become formally related and cross-reference each other. They are meant to provide humanitarian professionals with a pool of harmonized sets of quality standards that are easy to use and refer to.

The first set of standards to become a companion to the Sphere Handbook was the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies’ (INEE) Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery.

The companionship agreement between the INEE and the Sphere Project dates back to October 2008. It is rooted in the conviction that education in emergencies is a necessity that can be both life-sustaining and life-saving, providing physical, psychosocial and cognitive protection.

Companionship agreements between the Sphere Project and both LEGS and the SEEP Network respectively will be signed in the near future.

Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards

Minimum Economic Recovery Standards

Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery