He said he shared the desire of the Group of 77 (G77) developing countries for a “more democratic UN, with power divided in a more balanced way and with more effective diversity in the regional representation at all bodies of the UN”.
“And, of course the centre of that is the reform of the Security Council,” he said.
The process for reform of the Security Council has been stalled for more than a decade and the next negotiating meeting on the subject is set for January 29.
Guterres was speaking on Friday at a ceremony at which Egypt took over the chairmanship of the G77 from Ecuador.
The G77 is a coalition of developing countries that works collectively on development and international economic issues. It currently has 134 members, making it the largest group in the UN.
Guterres said that the G77 has been the “central pillar in the defence of multilateralism” when “these are not easy times for multilateralism”.
He expressed appreciation for the role of the G77 in “avoiding a dramatic reduction in our budget and in preserving the development sector in those negotiations”.
On fighting climate change, he said India has seized the leadership.
“We have a very solid commitment to climate action,” he said. “We cannot be defeated by climate change and we are not yet winning this battle” and the biggest victims of climate change are the developing countries that are members of the G77.
“In a moment when others are failing,” he said, of “the largest economies in the world, the two largest economies of the G77 are strongly committed to the leadership in climate action and I refer to China and India.”
He said he saw India and China “assuming the leadership in climate action to make sure that we don’t suffer the dramatic and devastating impact of climate change”, he added.
Assuming G77’s chairmanship, Egypt’s Permanent Representative Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta said that the group will work unitedly for combating climate change in a way that also promotes development.
Development and eradication of poverty will be a priority of the group, he said. Poverty remains the root cause of the bulk of the problems that the world faces.
For this employment and the productive capacities of the developing countries have to increase and, in particular, development has to be labour intensive to provide jobs for the youth, Aboulatta said.
One of his priorities, he said, would be to create a clear, multilateral roadmap for dealing with the frontier issues that are arising from technologies.
Another G77 priority is promoting the rights and role of women, he said.
General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak said that G77’s involvement will remain crucial for dealing with the challenges that UN faces.