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The commercial delivery and uniform supply of quality dogs that work according to the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) for mine dog detection has proven difficult, expensive and inflexible.The same applies for semi-trained dogs where there is a significant risk of failure during training.

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The problems associated with the general supply of quality dogs have been exacerbated following the heightened security situation worldwide post September 11th and the wider demand for the limited numbers of dogs available from security services. NPA has realized that the imbalance between supply and demand for quality Mine Detection Dogs (MDD's) requires that the selection and training of dogs be undertaken internally. There are currently no reliable suppliers that could satisfy NPA's requirements for a large number of quality dogs. The Centre was consequently established at the beginning of 2004 (April).


MDD's is one of NPA's core demining approaches worldwide. Dogs are used by NPA in many different countries and the number is likely to increase in the future. Dogs are an important component of NPA's integrated approach to demining -" the toolbox concept". There is a continuous need for MDD's to support NPA mine action programmes worldwide. For the foreseeable future, NPA will require a minimum of 20 -30 new operational dogs per year. NPA has so far relied on individual suppliers from Europe and Southern Africa. As the sources of quality dogs dwindle, the price is steadily rising and the general standard of dogs available is reduced.

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The time involved to train the dogs to acceptable standards has increased and the failure rate is consequently likely to rise. The unit cost per dog is expected to rise beyond acceptable levels. As a consequence MDD's are at risk of becoming less cost-effective in the future. With the introduction of IMAS for the training and use of MDD's, NPA needed to standardize its MDD approach to ensure a high quality and a unified compliance with IMAS. A standardized approach within NPA was seen as the best alternative for several reasons. Standardization of training and operational practices prevents unfortunate multi-practices based on personal experiences among MDD staff. A standardized approach has further improved NPA's institutional memory. Because of the many different practices in the past, NPA`s dog projects around the world was typically reliant on the use of international, and expensive, staff. The current requirements for cost-effective operations include not only the cost of producing dogs, but also operational running costs, standardization and the transfer of competence to national staff. This standardization has benefited all NPA MDD projects and severely reduce costs associated with training and deployment of handlers and MDD's to field operations in the short term and the net effect will be increased over a medium- to long term.


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The purposes of the project was to establish one universal supply and training source for all NPA MDD projects and to further develop the Bosnian MDD concept. The NPA Global Training Centre - MDD is a independent project,separated from the existing NPA BiH MA program. An additional project component was to bring national and international MDD staff from other NPA MDD projects to BiH to receive training and to gain additional experience. This has helped to consolidate competence and increase sustainability within NPA MDD operations worldwide.

Overall objectives

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Is was to create, maintain and develop a unified NPA MDD profile on training methodology and philosophy with an emphasis on a cost-effective implementation, sustainability, team building and competence building. Streamline all NPA MDD operations along one uniform set of standards that are to be applied everywhere NPA deploy MDD's.

Priorities and strategic solutions

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As indicated previously the imbalance between supply and demand for quality Mine Detection Dogs (MDD's) required that the selection and training of dogs was to be undertaken internally. There are still currently no reliable suppliers that could satisfy NPA's requirements for a large number of quality dogs. Therefore NPA has decided to continue to allocate resources to train our MDD's in an NPA Global Training Centre in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. The only alternative would be to procure MDD's through external companies ata much higher price. In addition all of these dogs would have to be trained further in country; in order to reach the standards set by IMAS.

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