European Crop Wild Relative Diversity Assessment and Conservation Forum


First International Conference on Crop Wild relative Conservation and Use


Wednesday 14th - Saturday 17th September 2005

Agrigento, Sicily, Italy


Update: 08 March 2005


► click here to download the FIRST CIRCULAR (PDF 208 KB)


Announcement ‌ Conference objectives ‌ Target audiences ‌ Call for papers ‌ Conference proceedings ‌ Location and venue ‌ Social events ‌ Conference excursion

Post conference excursion ‌ Registration ‌ Accommodation ‌ Transport ‌ Organisation and support ‌ Contacts


PGR Forum is pleased to announce the First International Conference on Crop Wild Relative Conservation and Use. The Conference will bring together the international community to address the current status and future of crop wild relatives (CWR) as a vital resource for improving agricultural production, increasing food security, and sustaining the environment. The Conference will be a landmark in PGR conservation, highlighting CWR as critical but neglected resources.


Conference objectives

The Conference objectives are to:

  • Promote the importance of wild plant species of socio-economic value to the international community

  • Review the establishment of CWR inventories and establish a baseline for their conservation assessment

  • Assess procedures for establishing conservation priorities for CWR

  • Review the current status of information access and management for CWR

  • Evaluate methodologies for in situ and ex situ CWR conservation

  • Explore ways of strengthening CWR conservation and use through international and inter-agency collaboration

  • Disseminate PGR Forum products to the European and global PGR community, and discuss their wider application and continued use

Target audiences

Participation and contributions are sought from both European and non-European countries to ensure the international scope of this first Conference.  Target audiences include the PGR community, conservation managers, plant breeders, policy-makers, information managers, researchers and other interested individuals.


Call for papers

The focus of the Conference is in situ and ex situ genetic conservation and use of crop wild relatives.  Presentations are sought on the following topics:

  • CWR conservation and use: an overview

  • Prioritising CWR and establishing inventories

  • CWR threat assessment

  • Genetic erosion and genetic pollution of CWR

  • In situ management and monitoring for CWR

  • Ex situ conservation of CWR

  • CWR information management

  • CWR as gene donors for crop improvement

  • Use of CWR and under-utilised species

Please submit the title, full names of authors and an abstract of no more than 300 words to the Scientific Programme Secretariat (  Please send files by email attachment.  The deadline for submissions is March 31st 2005.


Conference proceedings

A book of extended abstracts will be published to accompany the Conference.  Participants will also receive a peer-reviewed book containing key scientific papers associated with the Conference that will be published by a commercial publisher following the Conference.


Location and venue

The Conference will be held in Agrigento (Italy), a city located in the south of Sicily with 60,000 inhabitants. It was founded as a Greek colony in the 5th century B.C. and played a significant part in the history of that era. The city faces south towards the Mediterranean sea and enjoys a pleasant climate. The venue is the Dioscuri Bay Palace Hotel (, around 5 km from Agrigento. This four star hotel is situated beside the beach on the promenade of San Leone.  It has excellent restaurant and bar facilities and a swimming pool.  The conference will be held in the well-equipped conference room.  A wireless internet connection is available throughout the hotel.


Social events

A number of social events will take place during the Conference; these are included in the registration costs:


Guided tour of the Valle dei Templi (Valley of Temples)

Unique in the world, the Valle dei Templi combines Greek monuments of the fifth century B.C. with typical Mediterranean vegetation. It has 500 hectares of almond and olive trees, and ruins from classical times and the late nineteenth century. The national archeological museum there contains one of the most extensive Hellenistic collections in the world.

Stoaj theatre production

�The Stoaj� is found in the heart of the Valley of Temples, and features a reconstructed ancient Greek bazaar. Inside this area there is a small theatre seating 80 people, where a theatre production with a classical theme will be performed.

Traditional farm dinner with folk group

The dinner will take place in a traditional farmhouse in the Sicilian countryside around 35km from Agrigento. The traditional food served will consist almost exclusively of produce from the farm. Guests will have the opportunity to take part in making bread in the wood-burning oven and in cheese-making. There will be music performed by a local folk group in the evening. 

Dinner with traditional produce and wine tasting

This will take place in a typical country inn, around 20km from Agrigento. Traditional dishes will be served among which schiacciate (traditional Sicilian bread), cuddruruna (Sicilian pizza), focaccia etc., accompanied by excellent wines produced in the province of Agrigento. The wine-tasting will be led by expert wine tasters.

Visit to the birthplace and tomb of Pirandello

Pirandello, Nobel prizewinner for literature, was born and later also buried near Agrigento. The house where Pirandello was born is located around 1 km from the hotel, and is now a museum. His ashes were buried beneath a large rock which looks out over the sea.

Visit to the Montechiaro castle

The castle dates from 1300, and is found in the Palma Montechiaro territory, the scene of Gattopardo.


Conference excursion

A one day excursion on Saturday 17th September will be included with the Conference costs. Participants will have the opportunity to visit the following sites:


The Kolymbetra Garden

The Kolymbetra Garden is situated in a gorge in the heart of the Valley of Temples.  It is thought that in ancient Greek times it consisted of a large pool that was used for games and/or as a fish pond. In the 19th century it was transformed into a Mediterranean garden. Now, after many years of neglect, it has been restored to its former glory by the Fondo per L'Ambiente Italiano (FAI) ( and is one of the major tourist attractions of the park.

Siculiana nature reserve

This is a WWF nature reserve which covers 500 hectares, and extends from the sea to the hills. In the reserve there is a wealth of indigenous Mediterranean flora. The nature reserve is around 25km from Agrigento and is part of the Siculiana territory.

Almond germplasm collection

This tree collection, situated in the heart of the Valley of Temples has been set up by different public authorities working together to conserve germplasm of over 200 old almond varieties.


Post conference excursion

An optional three-day post-conference excursion is offered to participants at their own cost.


Day 1: Etna/Taormina

Departure from Agrigento for excursion to Etna. Typical Sicilian lunch at the Tenuta Scammacca del Murgo, with a visit to the wine cellars. In the afternoon, a guided tour of Taormina. Transfer to Taormina hotel, dinner and overnight stay.


Day 2 : Panarea/Stromboli

Leaving for Milazzo in the morning, transport by private boat to the island of Panarea. Tour of the island with stop-off for a swim at the Bay of Calajunco. Arrival at the port and brief tour of the town. Lunch on the boat.  Afternoon departure for the island of Stromboli. Tour of the island with optional trekking. Late evening motorboat trip to below the Sciara del Fuoco, from where volcanic eruptions can be seen. Back to the hotel late evening.


Day 3 : Palermo

Morning departure for Palermo. Guided tour of the city which includes the Duomo: �founded by the Byzantines, transformed into a mosque by the arabs and chosen by the Normans to bury their nobles, the first of whom was Frederick II�. The tour continues with a visit of the Palatine Chapel in the Royal Palace, the Castello della Zisa, which hosts the Museum of Islamic culture and the famous monument la Cuba. Islamic architectural influences can be seen in the Norman churches S.Giovanni degli Eremiti, Martorana and the church in Palazzo Chiaramonte. Lunch in traditional restaurant. Afternoon trip to the island Isola delle Femmine. Transfer to the hotel in Palermo, dinner and overnight stay.



Price per person (with 40 as the min. no. of participants): 450

Supplement for single room accommodation: 130


The price includes:

  • Transport

  • Accommodation in 4 star hotels

  • Traditional restaurant lunches

  • Private boat trip to Panarea and Stromboli with lunch on board

The price does not include:

  • Entry fees for museums and archeological sites

  • Guided tours as described in the programme

  • Tour of wine cellars

  • Drinks during meals

  • Tips and general extras


Registration costs

Registration covers the cost of lunches and refreshments, social events including dinners, one-day excursion, book of extended abstracts and a peer-reviewed publication containing key scientific papers associated with the Conference that will be published by a commercial publisher following the Conference.  Participants must pay their own transportation costs to and from Agrigento and the cost of hotel accommodation.  A limited number of bursaries are available by application.


By 30 June 2005               150 �

After 30 June 2005          200 �


If you wish to participate in the Conference, please complete an Online Registration Form. Alternatively, you can print out a Registration Form (PDF 114 KB) and send it by fax or post to the Organising Secretariat.



A special rate of 95 � per night (single room) and 140 � per night (double room) has been arranged at  the Conference venue, Dioscuri Bay Palace Hotel ( This four star hotel is situated beside the beach on the promenade of San Leone, around 5 km from Agrigento.  It has excellent restaurant and bar facilities and a swimming pool.  Alternative accommodation is available at other hotels in the area, but transport to and from the venue will be at participants' own arrangement and cost.



By air: to Palermo or Catania

By rail: to Agrigento


At the airport participants must transfer to the railway station (Palermo Centrale) for the train to Agrigento.  At Palermo airport there is a train and bus connection to Palermo Centrale. In Catania the connection is by bus. The train timetable can be consulted at On arrival  in Agrigento, transport to the Dioscuri Bay Palace Hotel will be arranged by bus and taxi.  Participants staying at other hotels must make their own way there by taxi.  Further details will be provided with confirmation of registration.


Organisation and support

The Conference is being co-organised by the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (Italy), The University of Birmingham (UK) and the Istituto Sperimentale per la Frutticoltura di Roma (Italy), with additional local support from the University of Palermo and the Agricultural Extension Service of the Regional Administration of Agrigento.


The Conference is funded by the European Community Fifth Framework Programme for Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development, with additional support from the Agricultural Development Service, Regional Government of Sicily, Palermo.


Organising Committee

Mr Damiano Avanzato (CRA-Istituto Sperimentale per la Frutticoltura di Roma, Italy)

Prof Giuseppe Barbera (University of Palermo, Italy)

Ms Katy Elphinstone (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Italy)

Prof Carlo Fideghelli  (CRA-Istituto Sperimentale per la Frutticoltura di Roma, Italy)

Ms Shelagh Kell (University of Birmingham, UK)

Dr Jozef Turok (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Italy)

Dr Ignazio Vassallo (Agricultural Extension Service of the Regional Administration of Agrigento)


Scientific Programme Committee

Mr Damiano Avanzato (CRA-Istituto Sperimentale per la Frutticoltura di Roma, Italy)

Mr Eliseu Bettencourt (Instituto Nacional de Investiga��o Agr�ria e das Pescas, Portugal)

Dr Ehsan Dulloo (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Italy)

Dr Brian Ford-Lloyd (University of Birmingham, UK)

Mr Craig Hilton-Taylor (IUCN/SSC Red List Programme, UK)

Prof Jos� Iriondo (Universidad Polit�cnica de Madrid, Spain)

Ms Shelagh Kell (University of Birmingham, UK)

Dr Nigel Maxted (University of Birmingham, UK)

Ms Sabine Roscher (German Centre for Documentation and Information in Agriculture (ZADI), Germany)

Dr Jozef Turok (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Italy)




Organising Secretariat

For all matters relating to registration and logistics, please contact:


Organising Secretariat

First International Conference on Crop Wild Relative Conservation and Use


Via dei Tre Denari, 472/a
00057 Maccarese (Fiumicino)
Rome, Italy
Tel: ++39 06 6118229
Fax: ++39 06 61979661




Scientific Programme Secretariat

Please send paper abstracts to:


Scientific Programme Secretariat

First International Conference on Crop Wild Relative Conservation and Use

School of Biosciences

University of Birmingham

Edgbaston, Birmingham

B15 2TT, UK



Page last updated 24 March 2005

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