In a message Friday to the G20 summit, Pope Francis highlighted the plight of some 30 million people trapped in conflict and famine, especially in Africa and Yemen.
In his entreaty to the summiteers, hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the pontiff said he appreciated efforts by the world's major economies to target "more inclusive and sustainable global economic growth."
But in a "heartfelt appeal" Francis focused on conflict.
He urged the G20 nations to help resolve "the tragic situation in South Sudan, the Lake Chad basin, the Horn of Africa and Yemen, where 30 million people are lacking the food and water needed to survive."
"A commitment to meet these situations with urgency and to provide immediate support to those peoples will be a sign of the seriousness and sincerity of the mid-term commitment to reforming the world economy and a guarantee of its sound development," the pope insisted.
Francis said world leaders should give "absolute priority to the poor, refugees, the suffering, evacuees and the excluded, without distinction of nation, race, religion or culture."
War "is never a solution," he said.
World leaders, he urged, should strive to "substantially reducing levels of conflict, halting the present arms race and renouncing direct or indirect involvement in conflicts."