Perhaps a failed summit is all for the good. Agenda 21 was about combatting poverty, improving health, protecting the atmosphere, oceans, habitats et al in short, its mandate was the creation of a "better" world. But has global governance, both preceding Agenda 21 and succeeding it, produced sustainable outcomes We wanted to save the African elephant so the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species banned ivory trade, an action which encouraged poaching and further threatened its survival. The Basel Convention was about a cleaner environment, but restrictions on export of used lead caused the Indian lead recycling industry to shut down, encouraged backyard operations, and worsened health concerns and the environment. The Biosafety Protocol has not only contributed to the present food crisis in southern Africa but can also be expected to retard diffusion of eco-friendly agricultural biotechnology. Certain quarters continue to demand that multilateral trading rules incorporate the social clause, notwithstanding the fact that it would worsen income inequalities. Clearly, bad policy and political constraints have substantially blunted the benefits likely to emerge from such global governance. Perhaps its time to embrace a bottom-up strategy. For example, permitting some trade in ivory will give local communities a better incentive to protect elephants. Moreover, since the end goal is to develop sustainably, and not retard development altogether, why not embrace the logic of the market Flexible, cost-effective courses of action, stemming from use of innovative technology, offer win-win solutions. Mindless regulations dont. Indeed, with business thus emerging as the primary catalyst, it is unpardonable that Indian industry will go unrepresented at Joburg both, officially and unofficially. Finally, the developing world had better start ensuring the rule of law. The Cola giants dared to rape the Himalayan rocks only because local laws lacked bite. Doubtless, itll be the mindset that would mean the difference between a watershed summit and a well-meaning photo-op.