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With its 2025 strategy, the Sphere community aims to shape the future of humanitarian quality and accountability



Sphere is developing a new five-year strategic plan which will draw on the inputs of the global Sphere community. The strategy, built upon the priorities articulated by Sphere members during the last General Assembly meeting, will define Sphere’s future role within the sector and its contribution to tackling humanitarian crises.

Sphere’s mission and objectives were discussed during the last Executive Committee meeting, which took place in Geneva in December. The main objectives identified included the importance of strengthening the global Sphere community of humanitarian purpose and practice, reaching out to new and existing humanitarian practitioners at national and local levels; further increasing awareness, application and adaption of the Sphere standards; and offering a platform to work collaboratively with other humanitarian standards initiatives.

“As we revise the strategy, I really hope that we look beyond the humanitarian actors that we’ve spoken to for the last 10-15 years”, said Sphere president Colin Rogers. “Looking forward, what we’d really like to see is how national disaster management agencies pick up and use Sphere to ensure programme quality.”

“The strategy is not only about the Sphere standards; it also embraces the Humanitarian Standards Partnership and the Core Humanitarian Standard. We’re all in the same space”, explained Tanaji Sen, executive director of RedR India. “I think the future strategy should very much focus on strengthening the advocacy and communication objectives that we all share.”

The development of the new strategy is being led by Sphere’s new Executive Director, Dr Balwant Singh. Sphere members will be invited to have their say on the strategy through online questionnaires and consultations over the next two months; this will be an opportunity for them to share their ideas and help shape the future of Sphere. The final strategy will then be presented for validation at the General Assembly meeting in May 2020.

“In 2025, I hope Sphere will have a footprint across every country, reaching down to the communities”, said Vikrant Mahajan, CEO of Sphere India. “We’ll be able to evolve as a catalyst for operationalising standards in actual emergency situations. Most importantly, Sphere will continue taking our collective learning forward.”

“In five years’ time, this is my dream for Sphere”, concluded Nasra Ismail, director of the Somalia NGO Consortium. “It is a community that welcomes not only practitioners who were doing this work forty years ago, but we have a place for young learners and future humanitarians; we have a place for setting standards whose context may not have been dreamed of.”