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The WFD recognizes the crosscutting character of water as a vital resource for social, environmental and economic systems, which places water policy in the middle of developments in other policy areas. Similarly, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has pointed to the need for systemic change that permeates recent EU policy, highlighting the importance of collaboration and policy integration and coherence. Concretely in this regard, SDG 6.5 promotes integrated water management and SDG 6.4 highlights the need to increase water use efficiency across all sectors and decoupling economic growth and water use. In this context, several new policy initiatives in Europe are at the eve of being implemented. The European Green Deal sets ambitious targets and objectives -among others- to protect, conserve and enhance the EU’s natural capital. The new Circular Economy Action Plan explicitly appeals to water stress and includes provisions for improving resource efficiency in the context of water resources management. Similarly, the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 acknowledges the importance of natural capital to industry and agriculture and sets quantitative targets for ecosystem restoration including 25 000 km of free-flowing rivers. The new Climate Change Law, Sustainable Finance, Farm to Fork Strategy, the new CAP Pillar II and the 8th Environmental Action Program -among many others- appeal to increasing resource efficiency, protecting the natural capital and improving the human well-being by means of transitioning the European economy to be more sustainable by 2030-2050.

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