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The Global Wetland Outlook

The Global Wetland Outlook provides a current overview of global wetlands: their extent, trends, drivers of change and the responses needed to reverse the historical decline in wetland area and quality.  Wetlands provide us with water, they protect us from floods, droughts and other disasters, they provide food and livelihoods to millions of people, they support rich biodiversity, and they store more carbon than any other ecosystem. Yet, the value of wetlands remains largely unrecognized by policy and decision makers.

  • Up to 87% of the global wetland resource has been lost since 1700. We lose wetlands three time faster than natural forests
  • Wetland-dependent species are in serious decline. Since 1970, declines have affected 81% of inland wetland species populations and 36% of coastal and marine species
  • The loss of wetlands continues with direct and measurable negative impacts on the quality and availability of water, food security, biodiversity and carbon sequestration.
  • Healthy, functioning wetlands are essential to delivering a range of global targets, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Aichi biodiversity targets, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and Land Degradation Neutrality.
  • The purpose of the Global Wetlands Outlook is to increase understanding of the value of wetlands and provide recommendations to ensure that wetlands are conserved, wisely used and their benefits recognized and valued by all.

From the report: Land degradation neutrality The UN Convention to Combat Desertification set a target for land degradation neutrality to halt the slide towards further degradation. Many forms of land degradation are linked to water management, and land degradation directly impacts wetlands such as peatlands, estuaries and rivers; these include some of the degradation hotspots around the world.


The Ramsar Convention is the only international treaty focused on wetlands. It provides a platform of 170 Contracting Parties working together for wetland conservation and wise use, and to develop the best available data, advice and policy recommendations to realize the benefits of fully functional wetlands to nature and society. Parties to the Convention have already committed to maintaining the ecological character of over 2,300 Wetlands of International Importance covering nearly 250million hectares, 13-18% of global wetlands. 

Download the Global Wetland Outlook here: English ; FrenchSpanish