ABC of conflict and disaster: Humanitarian assistance: standards, skills, training, and experience
- By: Marion Birch, Simon Miller Parkes
Those affected by catastrophe and conflicts often lose basic human rights. Recognising this, a group of humanitarian non-governmental organisations and the Red Cross movement launched the Sphere Project in 1997. The aim of this project was to improve the quality of assistance and enhance the accountability of the humanitarian system in disaster response by developing a set of universal minimum standards in core areas and a humanitarian charter.
The charter, based on international treaties and conventions, emphasises the right of people affected by disaster to life with dignity. It identifies the protection of this right as a quality measure of humanitarian work and one for which humanitarian actors bear responsibilities.
The Sphere Project was launched in response to concern about inconsistencies in aid provided to people affected by disaster, and the frequent lack of accountability of humanitarian agencies to their beneficiaries, their membership, and their donors. The project attempts to