This discussion paper is about the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) - one of the multilateral agreements that came out of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. UNCCD is based on a conceptualization of international relations that transcends to a large extent the traditional notions of inter-governmental treaties. Such policy concepts are known under the framework of Global Governance as they allocate political action rather to the horizontal level - implying multi-actor-networks and the civil society - than to vertical or top-down processes. The paper first shows that - inspired by the Brundtland Report and the emerging process of globalization - Rio was the peak season for Global Governance concepts that found their way into treaties and triggered structural reform, thus shaping a different reality of multilateral cooperation. In a second step, the paper shows that the Convention to Combat Desertification is the most Global Governance oriented of all of UNCED’s outcomes. Its legally binding text contains a number of pertinent elements, ranging from a stringent cross-over of environment and development issues, via the ‚bottom-up approach‘, to a mix of policy tools such as mainstreamed national action programmes and partnership agreements.