A Closer Look at the Role of a G8 Envoy


By Katy Riddick | Thursday 20 March 2014

Possible lessons for dementia?

The Global Envoy on Dementia Innovation, Dr Dennis Gillings, will be stepping into an exciting but challenging role on the world’s stage when he officially begins work early this summer. Only one other disease area has received a similar focus from the G8, when it created the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It was envisioned in a discussion at the G8 Summit in Okinawa, Japan in 2000, but did not become operational until 2002.

The Global Fund

Today, the fund has grown to be an impressive financing organisation with approved funding of $22.9 billion (£13.75 billion) and supporting more than 1,000 programs in 151 countries. The Global Fund’s Fourth Replenishment in 2013 garnered $12 billion (£7.2 billion) in pledged funding for 2014 to 2016.

The original model of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will hopefully be used as helpful guidance for dementia. It was too quick to direct grant money to countries and researchers without duplicating the efforts of existing organisations or directly overseeing the implementation of projects.

Specifically it was tasked with reducing the impact of the conditions in low- and middle-income countries through partnerships between developed countries, developing countries, the private sector, civil society and affected communities. Countries eligible to receive funds are allowed to apply once they have conducted a needs analysis, and brought together a multi-sector proposal that is cost-effective and practical, because the fund does not make recommendations for specific actions. The public-private partnership has been refined in recent years under Ambassador Mark R. Dybul, appointed as Executive Director in 2012, and who previously served as the United States Global AIDS Coordinator, but remains a financing mechanism and not an implementing agency.

Partnership working

Like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Dementia Innovation Envoy will likely rely on partners to provide the technical assistance and implementation advice, and draw from various public funding streams and private sector foundations for funding.

There is much progress to be made – the Dementia Innovation Envoy will be taking on a health challenge for which no disease modifying treatments exist. We are excited to see how the model for dementia unfolds and look forward to working with the new Envoy to make the most of the potential for revolutionary discoveries to help those living with dementia.


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Katy Riddick