Some of the leading experts on Alzheimer’s and Dementia globally have been asking the wealthiest countries in the world to put Alzheimer’s disease at the top of the 2019 G20 Osaka Summit Agenda.

In 2018, Leaders, researchers and scientists from around the world released a Consensus Statement and Research Framework that outlined the urgent need to adopt Aging and Dementia as a theme of the G20 Summit this year, and puts forward recommendations on what exactly they want to see done about the disease that is fast becoming a global crisis.

In late 2018, Noemi Medina from A.L.M.A, our Argentinian member, triggered the opportunity as Argentina passed the G20 presidency to Japan. Chris Lynch (Deputy CEO and Director of Policy, Communications & Publications), supported by Noriyo Washizu (Alzheimer’s Association Japan), attended six days of meetings in February and April in Tokyo, speaking with government ministers and parliamentarians, which resulted in Dementia being specifically included in the presentation of the C20 policy pack to Prime Minister Abe.

Having connected with Dr. Chieko Ikeda (Senior Assistant Minister for Global Health at Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare) during these meetings, she accepted Chris’ request to participate in ADI’s side event at the World Health Assembly in May for the launch of the report ‘From plan to impact II’.

During the World Health Assembly plenary session, the Japanese Minister of Health announced that Dementia would be included in the G20 discussions, which ultimately led to inclusion in the declaration.

This was a truly collaborative effort by the entire ADI team and members, including Joost Martens, ADI’s Regional Director for the Americas at the time of the Argentinian presidency, with the full support of the London team during the Japan meetings, plus important contributions from ADI Chair Glenn Rees and Asia Pacific Regional Director DY Suharya. Glenn attended a timely research focused event in Tokyo in March, bringing a G20 focus, and DY has been influencing via Dr. Kenji Toba, President of the National Centre for Geriatrics and Gerontology, who advises the Japanese government, and was one of the interviewees for the World Alzheimer Report 2018.

Special mention needs to go to Noriyo Washizu, who has represented ADI and AAJ throughout the process in her home country; a truly wonderful example of ADI and its members working together.

ADI is now finalising its strategy for the follow up meeting of G20 Ministers of Health in October, with CEO Paola Barbarino traveling to Okayama to ensure that G20 countries take a significant leadership role in ensuring that we work towards global and national solutions to Dementia.

On 28-29 June 2019, the leaders of the G20, met in Osaka, Japan, to address major global economic challenges. The G20 is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union (EU). After the summit, the G20 leaders released a final declaration, point 31 of which says:

31. We will promote healthy and active ageing through policy measures to address health promotion, prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases, and through people-centered, multi-sectoral, community-based integrated health and long-term care over the life course in accordance with national context including demographic trends.

We will implement comprehensive set of policies to address Dementia, including promoting risk reduction and sustainable provision of long-term care as well as inclusive societies aiming to improve quality of lives of people with Dementia and caregivers.

Chris Lynch, ADI’s Policy, Communications and Publications Director and Deputy CEO, said: “Following the adoption of the Global action plan on Dementia in 2017, it is vital we take this opportunity to give Dementia global profile, to ensure it remains a priority and to develop momentum towards achieving the targets set out in the Global plan. Less than half of the G20 have national Dementia plans – the most important tool a government has to tackle this health crisis”.

ADI have worked hard for this to happen and it will provide a strong launchpad from which to ask governments to take action to improve the lives of people with Dementia and their families.