From the UN Security Council and the European Union's Council of Ministers to obscure committees on food labelling or the scheduling of World Fairs, several thousand multilateral conferences are held each year. Why do governments deploy so much effort in these activities? What goes on behind the scenes at these meetings? How are their outcomes determined and what are the real-world consequences? Ronald A. Walker reveals the inner workings of such conferences, the result-oriented strategies that are pursued behind a façade of formal ritual and their impact on the behaviour of sovereign states.