The quest for global sustainability is built upon the realization that the world has entered a new era, the Anthropocene. For the fi rst time in history, humans have the capacity to impact on the whole global natural system; and this has led to changed conditions for international relations, the new diplomacy for sustainable development. But we have also seen that the instruments and processes for international relations, in terms of both bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, basically remain the same. This is not surprising in itself, since diplomacy, based on the notion of state sovereignty, is a conservative trade. However, the previously observed mismatch between sweeping general statements and the tiresome haggling over detailed texts is widened by the absence of bold thinking at the global level.1