First International Conference on Crop Wild Relative Conservation and Use


Wednesday 14th - Saturday 17th September 2005

Agrigento, Sicily, Italy



CWR species

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CWR Conference

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Announcement ‌ Conference objectives ‌ Target audiencesProgramme ‌  Documents ‌ Conference proceedings ‌ Location and venue ‌ Social events and excursions

 Post conference excursion ‌ Registration ‌ Accommodation ‌ Transport ‌ Weather conditions ‌ Organisation and support



► click here to download the CONFERENCE PROGRAMME (PDF 587 KB)


► click here to download the BOOK OF ABSTRACTS (PDF 772 KB)


► click here to view the POSTER PRESENTATIONS


► click here to view the CONFERENCE ORAL PRESENTATIONS (Password protected - Conference delegates only)






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.



The focus of the Conference is in situ and ex situ genetic conservation and use of crop wild relatives.  Oral and poster presentations will be given in the following sessions:

  • CWR conservation and use: an overview

  • Establishing CWR inventories and conservation priorities

  • CWR threat and conservation 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

  • Discussion sessions: Towards a Global Strategy for CWR Conservation and Use

The call for papers is now closed.



Conference programme (PDF 587 KB)

Book of abstracts (772 KB)

Presentation specifications (28 KB)

First circular (208 KB)

Second circular (PDF 1.3 MB)


Conference proceedings

A book of 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 CABI following the Conference.  Delegates presenting papers at the Conference will be contacted directly by the Scientific Programme Secretariat with information about the inclusion of a contribution to this volume after the programme is finalised.


Valley of the Temples Giuseppe Barbera

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 and excursions

There will be a one day excursion on Saturday 17th September and a number of social events during the Conference; these are included in the registration costs:


Castle of Palma di Montechiaro Damiano Avanzato

Visit to the Castle of Palma di Montechiaro and Welcome Cocktail at the Palazzo del Gattopardo

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


Tuesday 13th September - departure from the Dioscuri Bay Palace Hotel at 17:00



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.

Tempio della Concordia Shelagh Kell


Stoai theatre production

“The Stoai” 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.


Birthplace of Pirandello Damiano Avanzato

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.


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.


The almond germplasm collection Ignazio Vassallo

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.


Cost: post-conference excursion

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






Registrants should go to the conference registration desk before the conference begins to collect their registration pack.   The desk will be located at the Dioscuri Bay Palace Hotel and will be open from 12:00-17:00 on Tuesday 13th September, and again from 8:00-8:30 on Wednesday 14th September.



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. 


Please note that a limited number of rooms are available at the Dioscuri Bay Palace Hotel.  If a room at the Dioscuri Bay Palace Hotel is not available, an alternative hotel will be offered to you at a similar cost.


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 or coach to Agrigento


From Palermo: 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 (4,50 €). From Palermo Centrale or Catania, participants must travel to Agrigento Centrale (6,70 €). The train timetable can be consulted at Please ensure that you remain on the train until the last stop. Do not disembark at Agrigento Bassa! 


From Catania: Connection to Agrigento by bus from the airport (8,00 ). Consult the bus timetable here. Or by train from Catania railway station to Agrigento Centrale via Caltanissetta.


On arrival  at Agrigento Centrale, a minibus will be waiting every hour to transport participants to the Conference hotels.  Please look for the PGR Forum logo which will be displayed in the bus.  Participants who have arranged their own accommodation in non-Conference hotels must make their own way there by taxi.  Further details will be provided with confirmation of registration.


Weather conditions

The temperature in Agrigento during September is likely to be around 26ºC during the day and 22ºC in the evening.  A light jacket is recommended for the evenings. To see a 6-day weather forecast for Agrigento, click here.


Organisation and support

The Conference is organised by The University of Birmingham (UK), the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, CRA-Istituto Sperimentale per la Frutticoltura di Roma (Italy) and the Agricultural Extension Service of the Regional Administration of Agrigento (Italy).


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. The Conference organisers are also grateful to the Parco dei Templi, Municipality of Palma, Agrigento Wine Association and Agrigento Tourist Service for generously providing their services in support of the conference.


Organising Committee

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

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

Ms Shelagh Kell (University of Birmingham, UK) (Scientific Programme Secretariat)

Ms Katy Elphinstone (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute) (Organising Secretariat)

Dr Jozef Turok (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute)

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

Prof Giuseppe Barbera (University of Palermo, Sicily, Italy)


Scientific Programme Committee

Ms Shelagh Kell (University of Birmingham, UK) (Scientific Programme Secretariat)

Dr Nigel Maxted (University of Birmingham, UK)

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

Dr Jozef Turok (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute)

Dr Ehsan Dulloo (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute)

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

Prof José Iriondo (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain)

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

Mr Eliseu Bettencourt (Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e das Pescas, Portugal)

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


Announcement ‌  Conference objectives ‌ Target audiences ‌  Programme ‌  Documents ‌ Conference proceedings ‌  Location and venue ‌ Social events and excursions

 Post conference excursion ‌  Registration ‌  Accommodation ‌ Transport ‌  Weather conditions ‌  Organisation and support ‌  Contacts



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The University of Birmingham hosts and administers this web site on behalf of the European crop wild relative diversity assessment and conservation forum (PGR Forum)


Page last updated 11 April 2007


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