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Despite significant progress achieved in the last two decades, global hunger and malnutrition remain big challenges. About 805 million people in the world continue to suffer from chronic hunger and more than 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Moreover, overweight and obesity are on the rise in lowand middle-income countries. Hunger and malnutrition impose huge economic and social costs which can be felt at individual, household, and societal levels. For example, hunger and undernutrition cost the global economy US$1.4–2.1 trillion per year, or 2–3% of global gross domestic product, according to the FAO. The economic returns to eliminating hunger and malnutrition can also be very high. Evidence from IFPRI-led research demonstrates that there are substantial, lifetime economic benefits from reducing child undernutrition. In India, for example, every dollar spent on interventions to reduce stunting is estimated to generate about US$34 in economic returns. This paper makes the economic case for investing in the elimination of global hunger and malnutrition. It also focuses on the inefficiencies of policies and practices that add to the burden of hunger and malnutrition: such as under-investment in food security and nutrition; lack of social safety nets to protect the poorest; unsustainable natural resource use in food production; trade restrictions; and gender inequality in agriculture.


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