World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations and meta-analyses of controlled trials have concluded that inappropriate perinatal care and technology continue to be practiced widely throughout the world, despite the acceptance of evidence-based principles and care. The WHO Regional Office for Europe, in consultation with policy makers and reproductive health experts recently proposed ten "Principles of Perinatal Care," which have been endorsed by the reproductive health units of most member states. A comprehensive training program, based on the principles, is now being offered throughout the European region. This paper describes the development of the WHO principles and the WHO training course "Essential Antenatal, Perinatal and Postpartum Care." Together they provide an innovative model of evidence-based and psychosocially sensitive care for the future guidance of perinatal policy makers and caregivers worldwide.