Sultan Al Shamsi, Executive Director of the UAE Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid at KUSTAR
The Sphere Project, a leading initiative promoting quality and accountability in humanitarian work, launched today the Arabic version of the 2011 revised edition of the Sphere Handbook: Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response. The Launch took place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), in collaboration between UNOCHA/IRIN and Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research.
“The Sphere Standards represent the ultimate reference for humanitarian workers in their endeavour to provide humane and fair assistance to people in need around the world. The launch of the Arabic version in Abu Dhabi highlights the UAE’s active involvement in humanitarian operations and emphasizes its role in supporting and advocating good practices in the field of humanitarian aid”, said Khaled Khalifa, Head of OCHA/IRIN Middle East and Asia Bureau and Sphere Focal Point in the UAE.
HE Sultan Al Shamsi, Executive Director of the UAE Office for the Coordination of Foreign Aid (OCFA) said: “Sphere provides a useful reference point for humanitarian action; it is important for UAE donor organizations to apply agreed minimum standards in their relief operations, in sectors such as water and sanitation, health, and shelter. As well as improving the accountability of the UAE foreign aid sector, this helps to ensure the quality of aid provided to those in need.”
The Sphere Handbook establishes shared principles and universal minimum standards in core areas of humanitarian response. The 2011 edition incorporates a new chapter – Protection Principles – which considers the protection and safety of populations affected by disaster or armed conflict as an integral part of humanitarian response.
“The Sphere Handbook has informed our response to various disaster situations, most recently those in Yemen, Pakistan and Libya. With the launch of the updated Arabic version, we can now disseminate this important information and guidance to more of our humanitarian workers”, said HE Mohammed Khalifa AIqamzi, Secretary General of the UAE Red Crescent Authority.
In the new edition of the handbook, the Humanitarian Charter, which represents its cornerstone has been completely re-written to offer clearer language and stronger linkage to the standards. The Minimum Standards deal with four sectors of life-saving activities: water and sanitation; food security and nutrition; shelter and non-food items; and health. They have all been significantly revised in the new edition.
Professor Tod A. Laursen, President of Khalifa University, said: “Disaster preparedness and response is one of the core concerns of Khalifa University’s new Institute for International and Civil Security. We hope that the launching of the Sphere Handbook marks the beginning of a growing partnership with The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and The Integrated Regional Information Network”
To download a PDF (or a CD version) of the Handbook as well as additional resources, please visit the Sphere Project online press room: www.SphereProject.org/press.