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Rafael Montinola Salas was a Filipino and the first Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and headed the fund from the time it became operational in 1969 until his untimely death on 3 March 1987. Under his leadership, UNFPA grew from a small trust fund into the world's largest multilateral provider of population assistance. Mr. Salas was a pioneer in the field of population. Indeed, he was one of its first true international advocates, conveying to others the importance of understanding the crucial links between population and development and the need to take population factors into account in development planning.