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As a satellite meeting to the Ninth World Forestry Congress, FAO organized an Expert Consultation on the role of forestry in combating desertification which was held in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources (SARH) of Mexico, in Saltillo, Mexico, from 24 to 28 June 1985.

The purpose of the Consultation was to review and assess the present state of knowledge in the field of forestry in arid zones as it relates to rural development and the control of desertification, discuss research and application of existing knowledge, exchange ideas and experiences, outline actions needed and define a framework which would orientate future development programmes at the national, regional and international levels.

The Consultation was attended by 30 experts from 21 countries, by representatives from UNEP, Unesco, ESCAP, ICRAF, USAID, GTZ, ALECSO, and IUFRO, by 25 observers from six countries of which 19 were from Mexico.

The Consultation formulated a strategy on the role of forestry in combating desertification, identified the main objectives of an arid zone forestry programme and action proposals to enhance the role of forestry in rural development and the fight against desertification.

The structure of the package of proposals designed to foster forestry's contribution to checking and reversing desertification corresponds to three main areas, namely:

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