Monday the 29th in Roma the FAO program for the conservation of rural landscapes will be presented to Europe www.fao.org/giahs/en. For 15 years it was only a research program, but the success of this initiative with now more than 33 sites nominated, convinced FAO to upgrade it to the rank of world program. Differently from UNESCO World Heritage Convention where the rural landscapes play only a minor part and are not even named, but included in the more general category of “cultural landscapes” , GIAHS is entirely devoted to protect rural areas. Local food, traditional practices, biocultural diversity, are the main criteria for the selection of these sites, defined as landscapes resulting from the coevolution between man and nature. The purpose of the program is to promote a different form of agriculture not dominated by industrialization, maintaining strong links between food and traditional practices, favoring rural communities and their landscapes. Italy has just developed a memorandum of understanding with FAO in order to create a western pole for GIAHS, so far mostly promoted by China and Japan, with the aim of creating a high level training center in Florence for studying and expanding the program. Despite an agricultural policy mostly oriented to technological development and recently a “more green” Europe, but also resulting in an increasing amount of food import and abandonment, advancing at a speed of 800.000 ha every year, Europe ha still a rich rural heritage, from north to south, from east to west. This heritage includes also cultural forests, the “forgotten pillar of sustainability” , officially included since 2003 in the criteria for sustainable forest management. Unfortunately no specific program is dedicated to save these landscape, but there is a growing demand for protecting these areas. Several European sites are in the process of applying to GIAHS. The conference will be followed by a visit to one of the sites inscribed in the Italian National Register of Historical Rural Landscapes, which is about dry stone terraces with olive plantations, dating back to Roman times, still producing a very special olive oil.