Syria's brutal conflict has killed over 100,000 people, driven seven million from their homes and created the worst refugee crisis for a generation. I intend to welcome the Prime Minister's recent vow to lead the world in aid for the Syrian people, and to ask the Secretary of State to ensure that no stone is left unturned in diplomatic efforts to improve humanitarian access and bring about peace talks.
It is imperative that post-Millennium Development Goals, currently being negotiated, do not overlook the plight of the disabled people and children. It is time for concrete action to ensure that particularly children with disabilities have access to education, protection from violence and abuse; and opportunity to have their voices heard. This is not just a development agenda it is also a human rights issue.
Eight-year-old Sitan was lying on a rattan mat outside her family's house shading herself from the baking midday sun. Years of malnutrition had left this eight-year-old looking more like a little girl of four. Worse, she could barely move and was virtually silent. She, like many millions of children across the developing world, has a condition called stunting. In layman's terms this means she didn't get enough nutritious food as young child and is now physically and possibly mentally less developed than she should be.
I've long thought that the editors of our international media (and the British media is a particular culprit) needs to start noticing Africa. Not just the coups and the food crises and the droughts, but also the positive stories, the African success stories that are putting, for example, Ghana amid the fast growing nations in the world.
Even for the non football fans amongst us, it would have been hard to not get caught up in the drama that unfolded on our screens over the weekend as Manchester City clinched the Premiership title from their neighbours by the narrowest of margins. So dramatic were those last few moments, the sense of elation and despair of the fans and players was almost palpable. In its finest hour, football really can make you feel like you are part of something big.
There can't be many countries who face famine as their GDP rises by 14%. Yet that is the situation in the West African state of Niger, where appeals launched this week to help some 400,000 people now at risk from severe malnutrition. At the same time as an oil boom kicks in and IMF analysis predicts a rise in government income of 30% in 2012.