Healthy, ecologically functioning wetlands are a key delivery mechanism for global commitments, including those relating to biodiversity, sustainable development, land degradation, climate change and disaster risk reduction. They are also a vital for human survival. They provide food, raw materials, genetic resources for medicines, and hydropower; they mitigate floods, protect coastlines and build community resilience to disasters, and they play an important role in transport, tourism and the cultural and spiritual well-being of people. Yet policy and decision-makers often underestimate the value of their benefits to nature and humankind.
The Global Wetland Outlook examines the state and trends of wetlands. It reviews the drivers of wetland loss and degradation, identifies knowledge gaps, highlights successes and best practices, and outlines responses for the wetland community and other sectors to maintain or restore the ecological character of the world's wetlands, including:
- Enhancing the network of Ramsar Sites and other wetland protected areas;
- Integrating wetlands into planning and the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda;
- Strengthening legal and policy arrangements to conserve all wetlands;
- Implementing Ramsar guidance to achieve wise use;
- Applying economic and financial incentives for communities and businesses;
- Ensuring participation of all stakeholders in wetland management;
- Improving national wetland inventories and tracking wetland extent.