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6. The present evaluation of RONA focuses not so much on individual operations and activities as on the impact of the full package and range of services provided by RONA. It translates findings into operationally useful lessons to be used in shaping future UNEP policy and the role and function of RONA. The evaluation has been prepared at a time when leadership changes are occurring at levels both of the management of UNEP and of RONA itself. Many changes are still taking place as a new vision is emerging, a new system is developing and new challenges are coming to the fore. The evaluation must therefore provide the necessary tools and information for shaping the future of RONA.

7. The present evaluation of the North American regional umbrella project is a follow﷓up to the 1995 evaluation. In 1995, all the UNEP regional advisory service projects were evaluated. Those individual evaluations fed into an overall regional evaluation report, which was sent to New York and formed part of the Secretary General's report to the General Assembly. The present evaluation examines the extent to which the recommendations of the 1995 evaluation have been implemented by RONA.

8. The evaluation has also been prepared in response to the requirements placed on UNEP by the United Nations system. It should be of more benefit, however, to RONA and UNEP headquarters management. It provides the organization with an opportunity to reflect on the role and functions of RONA, especially given the change of leadership both at UNEP headquarters and at RONA. The organization can take stock of its achievements over the past four years and use this experience to shape the future.