- Takes note that Uganda has nominated Empaako tradition of the Batooro, Banyoro, Batuku, Batagwenda and Banyabindi of western Uganda (No. 00904) for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding:
Empaako is a naming system practised by the Batooro, Banyoro, Batuku, Batagwenda and Banyabindi, whereby children are given one of twelve names shared across the communities in addition to their given and family names. Addressing a person by her or his Empaako name is a positive affirmation of social ties. It can be used as a greeting or a declaration of affection, respect, honour or love. Use of Empaako can defuse tension or anger and sends a strong message about social identity and unity, peace and reconciliation. Empaako is given at a naming ceremony performed in the home and presided over by the clan head. The paternal aunts receive the baby and examine its features. Any resemblance to existing relatives forms the basis of the choice of name. The clan head then declares the name to the child. A shared meal of millet and smoked beef follows, gifts are presented to the baby and a tree is planted in its honour. The transmission of Empaako through naming rituals has dropped dramatically due to a general decline in appreciation of traditional culture and the diminishing use of the language associated with the element.
- Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Urgent Safeguarding List:
U.1: Shared and transmitted over generations, the naming system of Empaako strengthens the sense of belonging of its members, creates a web of relations between people and families, and promotes social harmony and integration within society;
U.2: Despite the efforts of the communities and clan institutions, non-governmental organizations and government, Empaako is faced with several threats to its viability, including a reduction in the practice of naming rituals among local families and clans, the diminishing use of the language associated with the element and strong opposition from religious groups;
U.3: The safeguarding measures are wide-ranging and include research, documentation, and awareness raising; with the active participation of practitioners that needs to be enhanced; they may enable the concerned communities to broaden the practice and transmission of Empaako; the activities proposed should have been better related to the identified threats and aligned to the objectives and expected results; moreover, the proposed budget is inaccurate and lacks clearly identified funding sources, which may negatively impact the feasibility of the proposed measures;
U.4: Many stakeholders including chiefdom authorities and traditional kingdoms, local government councils, clan and community representatives including women and youth participated in the nomination process and provided their free, prior and informed consent;
U.5: Through the facilitation of a non-governmental organization and with the support of the Uganda National Commission for UNESCO and the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, the element was included in the national inventory of the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development;
- Inscribes Empaako tradition of the Batooro, Banyoro, Batuku, Batagwenda and Banyabindi of western Uganda on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding;
- Notes with satisfaction the desire of the State Party to safeguard a social institution shared by several communities that promotes social harmony and integration between them;
- Recognizes the widespread support for the practice and the significance accorded to it as demonstrated by the extensive consent documents submitted;
- Strongly recommends to the State Party that it ensure that the safeguarding measures fully involve the active participation of the communities and other relevant stakeholders and address the actual threats facing the element, and cautions that publicity should not be the preferred method for awareness raising;
- Invites the State Party to present a request for international assistance from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund as well as other appropriate sources of international funding, in order to mobilize additional resources for the implementation of the necessary safeguarding measures;
- Requests the Secretariat, within available resources, to provide assistance to the State Party in the preparation of requests for international funding, should it decide to present it to one or more of UNESCO’s international funds;
- Invites the State Party to submit a report on the implementation of the safeguarding measures, and particularly on the participation of practitioners and other relevant stakeholders and on how these measures address the actual threats facing the element, for examination by the Committee at its tenth session, in conformity with paragraph 161 of the Operational Directives.