• The HAP training was relevant and made me reflect on the accountability of my organisation's work, our mandate and that we have commitments we have to fulfil more systematically.end quote

    Timo Christians, Deutsche Welthungerhilfe

©SEEDS, www.seedsindia.org/Sarika Gulati


Harmonising standards in the humanitarian sector

The second phase of the Core Humanitarian Standard consultation has now launched. Click below to find out how you can engage and have your say on the future of humanitarian standards. Deadline to do so: 12 September 2014.


A move towards greater coherence began in 2006 with the creation of the Quality and Accountability Initiatives Complementarities Group, which included HAP, People In Aid, Sphere, ALNAP, Groupe URD, Coordination Sud, and the Emergency Capacity Building (ECB) Project. Over the years, the group has grown with Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC), Listening Project, and Disasters Emergency Committee joining. The various quality and accountability initiatives within the group also continued to cement linkages bilaterally, with People In Aid and HAP aligning processes on common issues of staff competencies, and HAP and the Sphere Project making a concerted effort to complement each other’s revised standards released in 2010.

The discussions on increased complementarity evolved to one of greater coherence and convergence between the quality and accountability initiatives, gaining immediacy as the disasters in Haiti and Pakistan highlighted the need for the effectiveness, impact, accountability and quality in the sector.

HAP, People In Aid and Sphere, three of the longest established quality and accountability initiatives in the sector, came together under the Joint Standards Initiative (JSI) with the common goal of bringing about greater coherence between their respective standards, thus strengthening aid workers' ability to put these standards into practice. 

The JSI consultations in 2013 found that standard users wanted:

  • Harmonisation of the various standards, with affected populations at the centre and humanitarian principles as the foundation;
  • Action on further awareness-raising and common terminology;
  • A structure to link the various standards together.

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on HAP’s work to promote coherence in quality and accountability initiatives. For more details about JSI, visit www.JointStandards.org

The result of the JSI process was the commitment of HAP and People In Aid and the Sphere Project to develop a Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability. HAP expects to replace the 2010 HAP Standard with the Core Humanitarian Standard when it is launched in December 2014.

Another process that is running in parallel to the CHS is the SCHR-sponsored Certification Review project. You can find out how the two relate to each other by downloading the SCHR/CHS alignment document.

You can find out more about the CHS, and get involved in second phase of the consultation by visiting the Core Humanitarian Standard Website.

Key developments so far

17 June 2014: Second phase of the Core Humanitarian Standard Consultation is launched
29-30 April 2014: Core Humanitarian Standard Technical Group meeting in Geneva
31 March 2014: The consultation for the Core Humanitarian Standard closes
9 December 2013: The consultation for the Core Humanitarian Standard begins
27 June 2013: Geneva Standards Forum presenting the final outcomes of the JSI process - outcome of the Forum can be found here
2 May 2013: Release of the JSI Consultation Report
31 March 2013: Conclusion of the JSI consultation process
1 November 2012: Start of the JSI consultation process
31 October 2012: HAP Board Statement on JSI
11 June 2012: Final Report of the Joint Deployment to the Horn of Africa released
14 March 2012: A Joint Portal launched to provide access to standards and guidelines in over 15 languages
7 March 2012: Agreement on the process for convergence and coherence
11 May 2012: The boards of the three initiatives hold a historic meeting
16 December 2011: The three initiatives decide on the key steps of the process
14 October 2011: HAP Board releases note to Quality and Accountability Initiatives and its members

Should you have any questions or queries about the consultation for the Core Humanitarian Standard, or would like to know more about HAP’s involvement in bringing greater coherence to standards  in the humanitarian sector, contact HAP’s communications officer, Murray Garrard, on mgarrard@hapinternational.org 

Designed and Produced by ACW