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Activities on the restoration of urban rivers and lakes are likely to expand further as urban development  continues and demands for a sustainable and enhanced quality of life increase.

Around the world, there are increasingly more and more examples exploring how people can live with water in their cities in the coming decades. Cities are developing visions for safer and aesthetically more attractive city locations, built on sustainable water management principles and good practices. The OECD recently showcased good practices to promote a strategic vision across sectors, to engage with stakeholders and to foster integrated urban water management in cities and their hinterlands, via rural-urban partnerships and metropolitan governance (OECD, 2016).

In Europe, many examples of restoring rivers and lakes in cities and towns to serve different purposes already exist (EEA 2016a; 2015b; 2015e; RESTORE, 2013; UNISDR, 2012), and are partly (but not only) driven by the objectives of key water policies, such as the EU Water Framework Directive.

In fact, in the European Union, there are several policy processes that act as drivers for managing urban rivers and lakes in a more integrated way. This links up to the implementation of several EU Directives such as the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive, the Water Framework Directive, the Floods Directive, the Birds and Habitats Directives as well as other policies including the EU strategy on adaptation, Green Infrastructure and more recently the Urban Agenda for the EU. These policy processes and their interplay with one another contribute to linking water quality improvements with ecosystem protection, climate change adaptation and recently with urban development in cities across Europe.

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  • Anders Iversen (invited by Peter Kristensen) 26 Aug 2016 12:03:41

    In addition to mentioning relevant policy processes, I believe that it could be useful to underline the need to strengthen the knowledge base by building on exiting and on-going:

    • research, like the FP 7 REFORM programme,
    • good practice examples, like in the River Wiki,
    • guidance, like the EU NWRM platform,
    • and the sharing of experiences thought networking like the European ECRR or regional/national centers lite the UK RRC, the Italian CIRF or the Iberian CIREF.

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