Hypertension is now recognised as a very major contributor to disease burden globally. The close working relationship between the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Society of Hypertension (ISH) has existed for several decades and led to the production of a number of guidelines and statements. Since the publication of the 1999 WHO/ISH Guidelines for the Management of Hypertension, WHO determined in 2000 that in future the evidence base for all of its guidelines will be explicitly documented according to a defined methodology. In 2002 the World Health Report on Reducing Risks and Promoting Health Life documented the burden of disease (4.5%) related to blood pressure, and subsequently decided to establish comprehensive guidelines to help bring about a paradigm shift to a holistic multiple risk factor approach and facilitate policy development for implementation of population based strategies. ISH will be part of this process. The 2003 WHO/ISH Statement on Management of Hypertension focuses on key areas where new information has become available since the 1999 Guidelines, including establishment of thresholds and goals, treatment strategies and cost-effectiveness. It will be published in the Journal of Hypertension during 2003.