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1936 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
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December 10, 2018

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December 10, 2018

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 Memories & Condolences
This Guest Book will remain online permanently courtesy of Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North - Austin.
January 30, 2018
Fernando was a true gentleman, a friend to all, and one who brought out the best in others. He lived by Machado's maxim: "To converse, first ask... then listen." A man of uncommon grace with an expansive worldview, he, more than anyone I have met, was a poet of life.

Machado also wrote, "The poet doesn't look for the fundamental I but the essential you." When we listen to others and look for their unique contribution to humanity, we are following in Fernando's footsteps. His quiet and dignified example continues to light the way today.

Our love to his family,
The Wendells
January 18, 2018
"Dear family of Fernando, I met Fernando through the UNESCO Appeals Board, where I was an elected member. He was a true professional, and he impressed me each time we met by his knowledge and wise decisions. I am truly sorry for your loss, and you have my deepest condolences."
January 18, 2018
Fernando was a wonderful person and UNESCO Appeals Board Chairperson. Through my work on the Appeals Board, I had the privilege of knowing and working with him in this capacity. Siendo Peruana tambien pude compartir su carino e interes para su pais, Mexico, y nuestra region Latino America, asi como nuestro idioma. Todos le recordamos con mucho carino. Agradezco todo lo que pudo influenciar para ayudar a nuestros colegas llegar a una justicia. May he rest in peace. Sending my sincere condolences to his beloved family.
January 17, 2018
Born on 24 November 1936 in Mexico City, Mexico, Fernando Labastida's destiny was to leave Mexico and play an important part in the service of the international community. He studied Comparative Law at the Southern Methodist University in Texas and obtained his Masters. In 1964 at the age of 28, he joined the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations, New York as a Legal Officer where he became close to the understanding of international law. The opportunity arose when he became involved with the work of the Law of the Sea.

From 1973 to 1977 Fernando became Secretary of the Third Committee, one of the main Committees of the Third United Nations Conference on The Law of The Sea. The Conference lasted until 1982 with the adoption of The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty. The deliberations were difficult and slow. Fernando showed his ability to develop diplomatic skills that would become the mark of his professionalism. He served the various sessions held in New York, Caracas and Geneva until 1977, when he joined the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations in London.

Joining IMO was an important move in his career. Fernando, his wife Nancy and the two children Fernando Junior and Nanette settled in a peaceful suburb in West London.

In his new responsibilities as Head of External Relations Office, he attended in Geneva and New York the two annual sessions of the Organizational Committee which prepared the work of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) in co-ordinating all policies and programmes of the United Nations system. ACC is now called the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination CEB). Fernando accompanied the Secretary-General as his ACC adviser.

The following twenty-one years of his career with IMO, he witnessed decolonization, reunification and new member States which impacted on the growth in membership from developing countries and their increasing interest in maritime safety and marine pollution. The External Relations Office of Fernando was kept quite busy to provide guidance. On the occasion of the hand-over of Hong Kong to China, he accompanied the Secretary-General to the hand-over ceremony in Hong Kong.
He was also responsible for all applications for membership and was accessible to all Permanent Representatives of Member States. He would make arrangements with Inter-Governmental Organizations for the conclusion of agreements of co-operation with IMO and Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Consultative Status with IMO. He would direct individuals who wish to raise an issue on shipping and other interests to approach their national administrations or appropriate IGO or NGO.
In 1998, he retired with Nancy to Austin to be with Fernando Junior, Nanette and grandchildren. Retirement was an opportunity to share his widely acquired professional experiences. He soon became from 2000 to 2003 a Visiting Professor at the School of Law of the University of Anathuac lecturing on International Organizations, Law of International Treaties and Maritime Law. This was a familiar area of rich experience for Fernando as he had been so close with the system of the United Nations and its specialized agencies and the IMO Liaison Office in Geneva.

In 2003 the Executive Board of UNESCO in Paris appointed Fernando as the Chair of its Appeals Board for a term of six years from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2009 before which staff members may lodge an appeal against an administrative decision or against any disciplinary action. His fluency in French was a valuable asset to him. He made many friends at UNESCO.

Fernando loved to read short novels such as "Captain Corelli's mandolin" or "The girl with the pearl earrings" while travelling by train every morning to the office. He loved the large screen and would talk about "The postman", the tale of friendship between Pablo Neruda and the postman or discuss the literary work of Garcia Marquez

He loved swimming after office and meet colleagues at the pool. He loved watching Nancy playing tennis final at her local club. A good listener and a compassionate man of exceptional intellectual ability and energy who had been able to successfully combine family life, professional career and intellectual activities. He was a valuable person for the international community.

From all his friends far and near.

Adios Fernando. Vaya con Dios.

Georges Ah-Fong