15. Life on Land and SRHR

The linkages between SRHR and SDG 15, Life on Land, are often overlooked. The aim of this SDG is to “sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss” (United Nations, 2016). Drought and desertification have been increasing annually, and on impact poor communities most severely. Around 75% of the world’s low income population suffers directly from land degradation as they rely on livestock and agriculture as their main forms of sustenance or employment.

Malnutrition due to crop failure or loss of livestock is a threat to health in general, including SRH. Displacement as a result of drought and famine reduces access to health services and also makes girls and women more vulnerable to violence and exploitation.

There are various conventions and laws that support life on land as envisioned in SDG 15. The sections relevant to SRHR can be found below.

You can see how SDG 15 – Life on Land – relates to the SRHR of different groups below.

Women
Women SRHR of Women and Life on Land
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In Southern Africa women make up 40% of the agricultural labour force. The sector is one of the most fruitful sources of employment for women (UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 2011: 5).

Human Rights Conventions and agreements for Women and SRHR.
The convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.
  • Article 6.0 States Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women.
  • Article 10.0 States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in order to ensure their equal rights with men in the field of education.
  • Article 11.2 States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to prevent discrimination against women on the grounds of marriage or maternity and ensure their effective right to work.
  • Article 12.1 States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health care services, including those related to family planning.
  • Article 12.2 States Parties shall ensure to women appropriate services in connection with pregnancy, confinement and the post-natal period, granting free services where necessary, as well as adequate nutrition during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Article 16.1 States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations.
Convention against torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment.
  • Article 13.0 Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges he has been subjected to torture in any territory under its jurisdiction has the right to complain to, and to have his case promptly and impartially examined by, its competent authorities. Steps shall be taken to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any evidence given.
  • Article 14.1 Each State Party shall ensure in its legal system that the victim of an act of torture obtains redress and has an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible.
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
  • Article 12.0 The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. This includes the provision for the reduction of the stillbirth-rate and of infant mortality and for the healthy development of the child.
  • Article 10.0 The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize that special protection should be accorded to mothers during a reasonable period before and after childbirth. During such period working mothers should be accorded paid leave or leave with adequate social security benefits. Absolute protection and assistance should be accorded to the family … particularly for its establishment and while it is responsible for the care and education of
United Nations Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS.
  • Section 54 By 2005, reduce the proportion of infants infected with HIV by 20 per cent, and by 50 per cent by 2010, by: ensuring that 80 per cent of pregnant women accessing antenatal care have information, counselling and other HIV prevention services available to them, increasing the availability of and by providing access for HIV-infected women and babies to effective treatment to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV, as well as through effective interventions for HIV-infected women, including voluntary and confidential counselling and testing, access to treatment, especially anti-retroviral therapy and, where appropriate, breast milk substitutes and the provision of a continuum of care.
  • Section 60 By 2005, implement measures to increase capacities of women and adolescent girls to protect themselves from the risk of HIV infection, principally through the provision of health care and health services, including sexual and reproductive health, and through prevention education that promotes gender equality within a culturally and gender sensitive framework;
  • Section 61 By 2005, ensure development and accelerated implementation of national strategies for women’s empowerment, promotion and protection of women’s full enjoyment of all human rights and reduction of their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS through the elimination of all forms of discrimination, as well as all forms of violence against women and girls, including harmful traditional and customary practices, abuse, rape and other forms of sexual violence, battering and trafficking in women and girls.
Children
Children SRHR of Children and Life on Land
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Girls tend to bear the burden of fetching fire wood. This has been found to increase the risk of sexual abuse on long isolated walks, and to reduce the amount of time spent in schools (UNICEF, 2017a).

Human Rights Conventions and agreements for Children and SRHR
Convention on the rights of the child, on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
  • Article 1.1 States Parties shall prohibit the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography as provided for by the present Protocol.
  • Article 8.1 All state parties shall inform child victims of their rights, their role and the scope, timing and progress of the proceedings and of the disposition of their cases.
  • Article 9.2 States Parties shall promote awareness in the public at large, including children, through information by all appropriate means, education and training, about the preventive measures and harmful effects of the offences referred to in the present Protocol.
  • Article 10.3 States Parties shall promote the strengthening of international cooperation in order to address the root causes, such as poverty and underdevelopment, contributing to the vulnerability of children to the sale of children, child prostitution, child pornography and child sex tourism.
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • Article 12.0 Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction.
  • Article 13.0 Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges he has been subjected to torture in any territory under its jurisdiction has the right to complain to, and to have his case promptly and impartially examined by, its competent authorities. Steps shall be taken to ensure that the complainant and witnesses are protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any evidence given.
  • Article 14.1 Each State Party shall ensure in its legal system that the victim of an act of torture obtains redress and has an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation, including the means for as full rehabilitation as possible.
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
  • Article 10.0 Special measures of protection and assistance should be taken on behalf of all children and young persons without any discrimination for reasons of parentage or other conditions. Children and young persons should be protected from economic and social exploitation.
  • Article 13.2 Secondary education in its different forms, including technical and vocational secondary education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education.
United Nations Declarations of Commitment on HIV/Aids.
  • Section 65 By 2003, develop and by 2005 implement national policies and strategies to: build and strengthen governmental, family and community capacities to provide a supportive environment for orphans and girls and boys infected and affected by HIV/AIDS including by providing appropriate counselling and psycho-social support; ensuring their enrolment in school and access to shelter, good nutrition, health and social services on an equal basis with other children; to protect orphans and vulnerable children from all forms of abuse, violence, exploitation, discrimination, trafficking and loss of inheritance.
  • Section 67 Urge the international community, particularly donor countries, civil society, as well as the private sector to complement effectively national programmes to support programmes for children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in affected regions, in countries at high risk and to direct special assistance to sub-Saharan Africa;
Men
Men SRHR of Men and Life on Land
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In Southern Africa the agriculture sector is comprised of 60% men whose source of employment and diets depends heavily on the sustainability of life on land (UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 2011: 5).

Human Rights Conventions and agreements for Men and SRHR
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
  • Article 3.0 The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights set forth in the present Covenant.
  • Article 13.1 The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to education. They agree that education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity, and shall strengthen the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
United Nations Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS
  • Section 47 By 2003, establish time-bound national targets to achieve the internationally agreed global prevention goal to reduce by 2005 HIV prevalence among young men and women aged 15 to 24 in the most affected countries by 25 per cent and by 25 per cent globally by 2010, and to intensify efforts to achieve these targets as well as to challenge gender stereotypes and attitudes, and gender inequalities in relation to HIV/AIDS, encouraging the active involvement of men and boys.
  • Section 53 By 2005, ensure that at least 90 per cent, and by 2010 at least 95 per cent of young men and women aged 15 to 24 have access to the information, education, including peer education and youth-specific HIV education, and services necessary to develop the life skills required to reduce their vulnerability to HIV infection; in full partnership with youth, parents, families, educators and health-care providers.
Migrants & Refugees
Migrants & Refugees SRHR of Migrants and Refugee and Life on Land
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Having a culturally appropriate diet is an issue that newcomers to any region often face. In regions where this is not available it poses the risk of malnutrition and hunger, thus impacting sexual and reproductive health, particularly among women.

Human Rights Conventions and agreements for Migrants & Refugees and SRHR
Convention on the protection of the rights of all migrants and members of their families.
  • Article 28.0 Migrant workers and members of their families shall have the right to receive any medical care that is urgently required for the preservation of their life or the avoidance of irreparable harm to their health on the basis of equality of treatment with nationals of the State concerned.
  • Article 43.0 Migrant workers shall enjoy equality of treatment with nationals of the State of employment in relation to access to social and health services, provided that the requirements for participation in the respective schemes are met.
Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Racism
  • Article 5.0 States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law in the enjoyment of the following rights: the right to marriage and choice of spouse; the right to public health, medical care, social security and social services; the right to education and training.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Article 1.0 Everyone is entitled to all of the rights and freedoms put forth in this declaration, without discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Cultural and Religious Groups
Cultural and Religious Groups SRHR of Cultural and Religious Groups and Life on Land
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Having a culturally appropriate diet is an issue that many religious groups face. In regions where this is not available it poses the risk of malnutrition and hunger, thus impacting sexual and reproductive health, particularly among women.

Human Rights Conventions and Agreements
Convention of the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.
  • Article 3.0 States Parties shall take in all fields, in particular in the political, social, economic and cultural fields, all appropriate measures, including legislation, to ensure the full development and advancement of women, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms on a basis of equality with men.
  • Article 5.0 States Parties shall take all appropriate measures: (a) To modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Article 1.0 Everyone is entitled to all of the rights and freedoms put forth in this declaration, without discrimination of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Find Out More

United Nations Population Fund, 2016. “Religion, Women’s Health and Rights: Points of Contention and Paths of Opportunities”. United Nations Population Fund Technical Report. 1-136.

Nduna, Mzikazi 2017. “Research brief: A case study on rights, values and services in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa”. Cultural Responses to Sexual Realities. 4-37. Retrieved from