CAIRO, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Peace is key to achieve food security and "zero hunger" in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) conflict-stricken region, the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a statement Tuesday.
"Building resilience and sustaining peace are key to attain zero hunger and improve people's well-being in the NENA region. Without this, the region cannot end hunger, achieve food security or improved nutrition, or promote sustainable agriculture," said Abdessalam Ould Ahmed, FAO Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for the NENA.
Ahmed's remarks came during FAO's 34th session of the Regional Conference for the Near East, which is currently being held in Rome with the participation of around 150 representatives of government institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector from all countries of the region.
They gathered to discuss a roadmap for future work on shared food security challenges to reach "zero hunger" in NENA.
The FAO's assistant director general explained that achieving hunger eradication, food security and agricultural sustainability are key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
"In the presence of hunger, every other human need falls through," he said.
The FAO warned that some NENA states face numerous common challenges to achieve improved food security and nutrition including conflicts and civil instability as well as rapid population growth, increasing urbanization, low growth in food production, scarce and fragile natural resources and the threat of climate change.
In a previous report, the FAO said that some 40.2 million people are suffering hunger and malnutrition in the NENA region due to wars and conflicts, with 75 percent of them living in war-torn countries.
The FAO report highlighted Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya as "hot spots" of regional conflicts.