Humanitarian standards are descended from overarching principles and seek to describe good practice.
The sector recognised that with so many actors involved, standards and their application were needed in order to provide a way of defining how a good humanitarian should work and what they should strive to achieve.
By the 1990s, the IFRC established its 10 principles within its code of conduct and the Sphere Project defined its core standards, both of which defined a framework for working in humanitarian contexts. Sphere’s core standards were expressed as nine commitments describing essential processes and organisational responsibilities, which will enable quality and accountability when providing assistance.
In addition, there was a proliferation of local and regional standards relating to humanitarian and disaster response, leading to divided priorities and confusion.