2015 marked the 20th anniversary of the UN's Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action which focused on women's empowerment, and 15 years since the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1325 on women peace and security. In 2015, after a long journey, 193 countries agreed to a set of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's), replacing the UN Millennium Development Goals. The role and significance of women features strongly in these fresh SDG's. Continentally we are at the midpoint of the African Women's Decade and just over a decade has passed since the AU adopted a Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa, which for the first time placed ownership of gender mainstreaming at the highest level, calling for the implementation of gender parity in the AU and at national level, the ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, and the protection of women against violence and discrimination.
Over the last few decades it has become apparent that supporting women's capacities to actually participate in peace processes is a crucial part of their advancement and ability to contribute to peace, development and security. The efforts of civil society and policymakers are visible and every year sees another incremental step forward. ACCORD is honoured to be contributing to these efforts through dialogue forums, training women as mediators, generating knowledge for practice, and supporting efforts to use mainstreaming as a tool to bring gender into the equation within peacekeeping and peace and security frameworks in Africa.