Wetlands support a significantly large proportion of biodiversity. Their ecosystem services range from provision of water, food (fish and rice) and other resources to the regulation of water regimes, water quality and climate. They enhance the aesthetics and are hubs of cultural and recreational activities. Wetlands are threatened most by changes in land use/land cover and inappropriate water resources management because of poor understanding of their biodiversity and ecosystem services and lack of capacity for their assessment and valuation. To improve the capacity of various stakeholders, we prepared guidelines for rapid assessment (sampling, identification and enumeration) of biodiversity and major ecosystem services of wetlands. These guidelines were tested briefly in three different wetlands in Kolkata, Guwahati and Kathmandu by demonstration in the field and discussion with over 230 researchers, scientists, managers, policy makers and NGOs representatives besides about 100 members of the local wetland-dependent community. It generated interest and helped improve their understanding of the wetland benefits. The guidelines (available online) may be elaborated and adapted for assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services and capacity building in different regions. A policy brief (also available online) highlighting the ecosystem services of wetlands and their relationships with biodiversity was prepared and discussed at another workshop for managers and policy makers. Extensive capacity building effort is recommended for the necessary change in wetland related policies.