When one looks at the scale of Syria's need, it is clear that the international community cannot do enough and indeed has not done enough. The heart of the matter - support and pressure for a political settlement - is flatly blocked within the UN Security Council. Humanitarian aid appeals meet with a response, but never quite to the amount sought. For the UK, we responded - £200million to the latest appeal - and will continue to respond. And we do all we can to unblock the path to that political settlement that Syria needs.
I leave the region with all the usual feelings, heavy feelings, the same ones people much brighter and more eloquent than me have described through the years. I just have one small, unfurling seed of optimism; knowing that if water could be disentangled from the war, it presents a genuine opportunity for co-operation and relationship building between neighbours. In all the gloom there is a glimmer of hope and it's right there, in the water.
It is, in all our interests to ensure that governments, media and institutions around the world speak out for individuals in jail or facing execution, support civil society actors on the ground working to defend freedom of religion or belief, and make it a priority to promote this most basic of freedoms.
Last year I heard the untold story of this pioneer generation - children of the Raj who arrived in a country unused to seeing people from the former colonies on its streets. I now pick up their story - along with their children - many of whom were born here - in the second series of Three Pounds in My Pocket, broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
It's been wonderful to see how much grassroots support there is out there and is a wonderful demonstration of how the British people can work together to transform people power into donations and support. We plan to embark on the 500-mile journey from Glasgow on 11 August and intend to return two days later, after donating the supplies.
The nearly a quarter of a million people who have arrived in Europe this year represent a massive headache for the authorities in both Italy and Greece, who are desperate for more help from their EU partners... The real scandal is not how many people are huddled in Calais hoping to get to the UK, but how few we are allowing in.
As we look back on the first 100 days of this Government, many politicians, businesses and campaigners are also looking forward - with just four months to go until world leaders meet in Paris to agree a deal on climate change... Yet the first 100 days of Conservative rule have been grim for anyone who cares about securing a safe climate for our children and grandchildren.
Much has been written recently of the spate of executions in Pakistan - more than 200 now, and counting - since the moratorium was lifted last December. While this spate of execution surely merits the international condemnation it has provoked, it must not be permitted to obscure the nightmare that is being faced by Pakistani citizens on death row in other countries. Most pressing, perhaps, is the fate of those who face execution in Saudi Arabia.
If the Ukrainian government want to avoid falling victim to this well established Russian tactic they would do well to stop taking the bait and start living up to their own rhetoric about eastern residents being as valued as Ukrainian citizens as their western counterparts. A good start would be to lift the blockade and reinstate pensions for its most vulnerable people.
These two meetings are the culmination of long, intensive processes, and present governments across the world with the chance to make bold decisions. If they rise to the challenge, they can set us all on a path to address the inter-connected crises of poverty, inequality, environmental degradation and climate change.
The last week has left me in no doubt that this is quite literally a fight for Europe within Ukraine. Europe has to consider very carefully the consequences for all of us whether it is a fight we can afford to be lost and to decide for ourselves exactly what constitutes victory or defeat? Cold war, hot war or no war at all.
Platforms like Change.org are opening up politics because they put power directly into the hands of the people and it's good that Westminster is evolving to reflect that. But if Parliament's formal petitions process is going to achieve its full potential it should ditch the focus on arbitrary numbers and 19th Century committees and embrace a more open model fully fit for the 21st Century.
There is no rule of law and much of the state infrastructure is crumbling with government employees complaining about not being paid. And it's here in Tripoli where the Italian investigators traced Ghermay to, where they believe he's living and from where he manages his multi-national human trafficking business. And it's here he will carry on operating, safe in the knowledge he can't and won't be caught - no matter the protestations and political pledges to crack down on the gangs and the networks. Because Libya is anarchic and that means the smugglers can operate with impunity.
"If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers," Dickens wrote, envisaging the 'bad people' as the lawyer's clients no doubt, rather than the government. Yet in China nearly 200 lawyers have been rounded up and hauled in for questioning over the last week in an unprecedented crackdown on the profession.
There is a great Arabic proverb: 'farkh al-bat awwam'. In English, 'the son of a duck, floats', or, 'like father, like son'. In Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's case, Mr al-Assad doesn't so much float as sink like a stone... Fifteen years ago today, Bashar 'inherited' the rule of Syria from his father, who, to be clear, wasn't much of a floater himself. Fifteen years on, Bashar has practically destroyed the country.
As we packed up our kit in the hot sun and Mary showed us the way back through the village and scarce trees to our car I thought about how hard it had been to hear Jane and Mary's stories, but was wowed by their powerful determination to end FGM and tell others about its dangers. Mary's final words to me are ones I'll never forget...