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How do Somalis and the international community solve Somalia's food security emergency? According to the International Crisis Group (ICG), the current disaster has been a long time in the making and will take a long time to resolve. While humanitarian assistance is the immediate need, the Somali people must have and deserve a stable, peaceful, and prosperous country. However, for two decades, political leaders - both in Somalia and the international community - have not been able to bring peace and prosperity to Somalia. In fact, since the early 1990s, there have been 14 efforts to achieve peace and reconciliation that have failed.
As a result of the current famine in Somalia, 30,000 children died between April and July 2011, and four million people throughout the country are food insecure, including three million in south Somalia. There are over 900,000 refugees in surrounding countries and 1,463,780 internally displaced persons.
Meanwhile, the famine overshadows the underlying human adversity faced by Somalia's people under regular circumstances. Even without the famine, life expectancy is 50 years, infant mortality 108.5 per 1,000, and maternal mortality 1044 per 100,000.
In August 2011, the Transitional Federal Government of the Republic of Somalia (TFG) was to hold presidential and parliamentary elections but failed to do so. Prodded by the international community, the TFG convened a "Consultative Meeting on Ending the Transition in Somalia" on September 6, 2011 to produce a "road map" that would end the current transitional government and move to a permanent constitutional government. Under this new proposal, the TFG is to end the transition before August 20, 2012.
Inclusivity and participation are the most important drivers of the new road map. Somalia is a single -ethnic and single-religious country divided by many clans, sub-clans, and local and regional divisions. As the ICG suggests, this new initiative must focus international efforts at both the TFG at the national level and local administrations in Somalia. The strong participation of civil society, particularly women's groups, business leaders, and youth are vital to the success of this effort.