Conservation and wise use of wetlands are vital for human livelihoods. The wide range of ecosystem services wetlands provide means that they lie at the heart of sustainable development. Yet policy and decision-makers often underestimate the value of their benefits to nature and humankind. Understanding these values and what is happening to wetlands is critical to ensuring their conservation and wise use. The Global Wetland Outlook summarizes wetland extent, trends, drivers of change and the steps needed to maintain or restore their ecological character.