The Sphere Handbook is one of the most widely known and internationally recognised sets of common principles and universal minimum standards for the delivery of quality humanitarian response. Because it is not owned by any one organisation, the Sphere Handbook enjoys broad acceptance by the humanitarian sector as a whole.
The Sphere Handbook puts the right of disaster-affected populations to life with dignity, and to protection and assistance at the centre of humanitarian action. It promotes the active participation of affected populations as well as of local and national authorities, and is used to negotiate humanitarian space and resources with authorities in disaster-preparedness work.
The minimum standards cover four primary life-saving areas of humanitarian aid: water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion; food security and nutrition; shelter, settlement and non-food items; and health action.