Accreditation and operational testing of animal detection systems and handlers

  • Version
    Third Edition
  • Creation
    28 May 2019

Animal detection systems (ADS) are a tool that may be used in land release processes to support Non-Technical Survey (NTS), Technical Survey (TS) and clearance. As an input to the Land Release process Animal Detection Systems (ADS) require testing, in accordance with IMAS 07.12 and 07.40, to confirm that they satisfy quality requirements, particularly in terms of their capability to detect EO including; landmines, ERW and other targets that may be specified by authorities, customers and other stakeholders. ADS may include Mine Detection Dogs (MDD), Mine Detection Rats (MDR) and other species.

Establishing and maintaining stakeholder confidence in the reliability of ADS requires that tests of the capability and performance of ADS are rigorous, realistic, reliable and transparent. Tests are carried out during initial accreditation and periodic reassessment (as described in IMAS 09.40 and 07.30).

The nature of ADS testing is such that there will always be some aspects of the situation that do not exactly replicate operational circumstances and conditions. Nevertheless, testing authorities and agencies strive to create test conditions that give mine action actors confidence that a successful result provides a reliable indication of competence to perform ‘live’ operations under field conditions.

Constraints of time, cost and efficiency may mean that operational testing at task sites in support of day-to-day operations cannot satisfy all the requirements of this IMAS, but any such testing should still seek to satisfy similar criteria, so far as possible, to ensure that tests are valid in relation to live operations.

Stakeholder confidence is further maintained through on-going monitoring and analysis of ADS performance data collected during operations on land release sites. Testing and monitoring go hand in hand to ensure that operators, authorities and other stakeholders trust ADS to perform the tasks they are assigned to the required standards.


(At the direction of the IMAS Review Board a technical working group has been established to support further revisions of IMAS on ADS.


This working group is comprised of academic specialists, ADS operators and other relevant mine action stakeholders, it has been provided with a mandate to examine relevant research and operational experience as well as all practical implications of testing ADS. The intention of this initiative is to settle existing discrepancies of opinion about all principles of testing and licensing of ADS for mine action operations. The working group will also consider if there is merit at this stage to incorporate guidance related to the use of ADS where IED-operations are conducted,


The working group has directed to complete its mandate within 12 months of the date of this standard, including the development of any additional guidance on ADS that may be required within the IMAS framework.


The provisional approval of this document will be reviewed by the IMAS Review Board based on the working groups recommendations).


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