HUMANITARIAN STANDARDS FORUM – HARMONIZING STANDARDS

HUMANITARIAN STANDARDS FORUM – HARMONIZING STANDARDS

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In late June, 150 representatives from the humanitarian community gathered in Geneva to attend the ‘Humanitarian Standards Forum.’  The event marked the conclusion of the Joint Standards Initiative (JSI) and to work to make the core standards more useful for aid workers, governments, and other stakeholders.

The JSI began in 2012 to seek greater coherence for users of standards and to improve humanitarian action to people affected by disasters. More specifically, the standards project will now take the JSI process into its implementation phase and continue in collaboration between HAP, People in Aid, and the Sphere Project.

CWS-P/A’s Deputy Directors, Zainab Raza and Shama Mall, attended the event and shared, “It was a very useful opportunity to represent and attend the Standards Forum on behalf of CWS-P/A, as we are recognized as one of the leading humanitarian organization in our region for our efforts to strengthen accountability within the sector. For us, this was also important to observe and assess how some of the large actors within the accountability debate are integrating with the JSI and development of a core standard.

The event was very well attended and represented from many countries, including those that are into war like situation and conflicts, like us in Pakistan and Afghanistan. So we were able to relate very easily with the issues, concerns, and challenges that were brought up by activist and organizations working in similar adverse circumstances, to uphold accountability. It was heartening to see that many knew about CWS-P/A and its work, and they were keen to share experience and stories. A lot of them showed interest in seeking opportunities through our capacity building initiatives on strengthening the capacities on Q&A. Overall, it was worth being able to further demonstrate our commitments and support towards the JSI process.”

Furthermore, in the coming months the standards project will work to develop a new standards architecture which will make it easy for humanitarian workers to navigate various standards and use them in a complementary way. A verifiable common core standard will also be developed with clear benchmarks and indicators. The common core standard will underpin current and future standards and ensure that humanitarian actors are more accountable. Additionally, country level awareness raising and support activities will aim at the successful dissemination of the common core standard.

With verification approaches, methods, and tools, humanitarian actors will be better able to understand how the common core standard can be assessed and verified. While the Sphere Project will continue promoting voluntary uptake of standards, HAP and People in Aid will continue to invest in the development of verification tools, internal and external mechanisms as well as linking with the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR) certification review.

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