Humanitarian Standards

Discuss three of the nine Sphere Core Humanitarian Standards. Identify the one that you
think is most often neglected in the case of natural disasters or complex humanitarian
emergencies. Discuss characteristics of complex humanitarian emergencies in your
response. Share a real example of how these standards were (or were not) applied in a
recent humanitarian crisis.

Humanitarian Standards

Since natural disasters are inevitable phenomena, the individuals and groups in the most affected
areas have the right to receive the necessary assistance and protection that guarantees the
availability and access to the underlying condition to a dignified life. As initiatives aimed at
improving the humanitarian sector’s accountability and quality, the sphere core humanitarian
standards entail principles that serve as reference tools used by advocacy groups, humanitarian
agencies, governments, and potential donors (The Sphere Project, 2015). The standards thus
serve statements that describe the basic courses of action that would guarantee the provision of
this right to the people affected by the crisis. As such, my sphere core humanitarian standards of
choice include the receipt of appropriate and relevant assistance to the needs of the affected
individuals and communities (principle 1). The second standard of choice entails communication
(principle 4), which focuses on understanding the rights and entitlement, access to information,
and participation in the decision-making process related to the challenges facing the affected
communities and individuals (The Sphere Project, 2015).

Moreover, the third standard I chose entails the expectation of effective, efficient, and
ethical management of the resources among the organizations delegated to assist the affected
individuals and communities (Principle 9). However, I feel that the most underutilized standard
entails principle four, especially in cases involving complex humanitarian emergencies and

natural disasters as the rights are not always accorded appropriately. At the same time, some
people or communities lack relevant information on how to adequately address the situation (The
Sphere Project, 2015).

Complex humanitarian emergencies share common characteristics that include the
displacement of populations, extensive damage to the economy and society, and the widespread
use of violence and the loss of lives. These are followed closely by the need for multifaceted and
sectoral assistance, hindrance orchestrated by military or political constraints to the aid provided,
and security hazards for the humanitarians, among others (Purvis, 2017). As such, the occurrence
of natural disasters, over the past decade, has highlighted various instances in which the
humanitarian standards were inadequately applied. Specifically, the occurrence of Hurricanes
Irma, Harvey, and Maria in the United States in 2017 has been associated with hefty costs as
compared to other emergencies of a similar nature. Nonetheless, in the humanitarian responses
applied, it became apparent that most of the responders and organizations lacked interoperability
between the different initiatives (Purvis, 2017). Moreover, guiding principles related to what the
people and communities could expect from the humanitarian organizations were inadequate,
thereby leading to the overlapping of the initiatives applied.



Purvis, K. (2017, October 6). Core humanitarian standard: Do NGOs need another set of

The Sphere Project. (2015). The Core Humanitarian Standard and the Sphere Core Standards:
Analysis and Comparison. The CHS and the Sphere Core Standards, 1-10.