Since the 14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences in San Francisco in August 1999, two decisive events have set signals for the future directions of phonetics in general and of the International Phonetic Association in particular. First of all, the Permanent Council for the Organization of International Congresses of Phonetic Sciences, the principal, quadrennial international forums for the presentation of phonetic research, and the Council of the International Phonetic Association, the oldest and most prominent scientific society of phonetics, separately voted in favour of a union, with the intention to affiliate the Permanent Council as a standing subcommittee to the IPA Council and to run future Congresses under the auspices of the IPA. This will broaden and intensify the activities of the IPA in all areas of Phonetic Science, even if the phonetic descriptions of languages will remain a traditional focus of attention. Secondly, a decision was taken by the IPA Executive to reach agreement for the Association's Journal to be published by Cambridge University Press. Upon the conclusion of the contract, we can now proudly present the first issue of volume 31 of the Journal of the International Phonetic Association under its new aegis. In conjunction, the two decisions taken by the IPA open up the prospect of a powerful international platform for the distribution of the state-of-the-art and new results in phonetic research.