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Welcoming Remarks at Our
Cathy, thank you very, very much. Welcome, everybody, distinguished guests all. We have many government leaders, many people, as Cathy mentioned, from foundations, from NGOs, from various interested entities. We are really delighted to have such an extraordinary expert concerned group come together to discuss this really critical issue. And I am personally very, very grateful to the leadership of our terrific Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment -- it's a big package, obviously -- who has been working diligently to put this together. You can tell from the surroundings this will be interactive; there will be a lot of visual input to digest and a great deal of science to document what we are talking about here over the course of these next couple of days.
But I'm really grateful to my team here at the
As many of you know, convening a conference like this has been a priority of mine for some period of time. I really started thinking about this when I was still in the
A commitment to protecting the ocean, which we all share, has really been a priority of mine for a long time, as Cathy mentioned a moment ago, literally from the time I was growing up as a child in
So I learned very early on to appreciate this vast expanse of the ocean, so vast that three-quarters of our planet is really ocean. Someone might have called our planet Ocean, not Earth, if it was based on that, but obviously it is not. Stewardship of our ocean is not a one-person event; it's a nation event, it's a country event, it's a universal requirement all across this planet. And I tried very hard when I was in the