Georgia became a member of the Agency by depositing an instrument of acceptance of the Agency's Statute. The application by the Republic of Moldova for membership was approved by the General Conference but the instrument of acceptance has not yet been deposited with the Government of the USA in accordance with the Agency's Statute.
Board of Governors documents, which are normally of restricted distribution and intended for the 'official use only' of Member States, have now been released for general distribution two years after the date of issue. However, the Board decided that the annual Safeguards Implementation Report, documents relating to deliberations of the Board in closed session, documents for whose distribution there is a legal impediment and any other documents specified by the Board, including those of its committees, will continue to be of restricted distribution.
In November, the Secretariat began electronic distribution of documents to Permanent Missions and Member States through the Internet. The objective is to provide more rapid dissemination of documents for consideration by the Board of Governors. The service is for official use only and all users have to register individually with the Agency through their competent authorities.
The Board of Governors, at its June session, established a Committee on Strengthening the Effectiveness and Improving the Efficiency of the Safeguards System (Committee 24) charged with the task of drafting a model Additional Protocol to existing safeguards agreements. The Committee met in July and October and is expected to conclude its deliberations in the first half of 1997.
The Board, at the request of the General Conference, re-established an informal open-ended consultative group on Article VI of the Statute. The General Conference resolution requested that the group "submit a report on a finalized formula" for revision of Article VI to it at its 1997 regular session. The Board also re-established its open-ended informal working group on the criteria for designating members. In this connection, the General Conference, through a statement by the President, requested the Chairman of the Board of Governors to consult with Member States not yet listed in a regional area, as well as with other Member States and representatives of the regional areas, and submit for consideration a report on specific proposals for the inclusion of each Member State within the appropriate area to the General Conference in 1997.
Since the term of office of the current Director General will expire in 1997, the Board, following the proposals adopted in 1991 on the procedure for appointment of the Director General, called in October for nominations to the post from Member States. By the deadline date of 31 December 1996, candidates from Egypt, Italy, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Switzerland, Ukraine and Zambia were nominated for the position by their respective Governments. The appointment is expected to be made by the Board at its June 1997 session.
Since 1997 is the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the Statute of the Agency, the Board at its December session established an open-ended informal working group to discuss the contributions of Member States and the Secretariat to the commemorative activities planned for 1997. The Group held its first meeting on 11 December.
The Board re-established its open-ended informal working group on the financing of technical assistance.