Dr Mitrasen Bhikajee is recognized for his leadership that has contributed to a significant improvement in the management of the coastal and marine environment of the WIO region, and globally. Dr Bhikajee served as the director and deputy executive secretary of IOC/UNESCO in Paris, France for several years and was the vice president of WIOMSA from 2005 to 2007. Dr Bhikajee was the first chairman of the regional Forum of Heads of Academic and Research Institutions and he helped to organize the first WIOMSA Scientific Symposium in the island states. This was held in Mauritius in 2005. One of his most notable initiatives for Africa and the Indian Ocean is the establishment of IOC/UNESCO’s Sub-Commission for Africa and Adjacent Island States in 2012 and the development of its first strategic plan in collaboration with regional stakeholders. Other significant contributions to the region include: the coordination of the preliminary activities related to the Second Indian Ocean International Expedition which provided a large amount of new data and also offered capacity building opportunities for scientists in the region; providing leadership to the Mauritius Oceanography Institute for the joint submission by Mauritius and Seychelles for an extended continental shelf to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. He initiated the European Union funded programme African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD).