UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday lauded the role of the Group of 77 (G77) and China in promoting multilateralism and development, and fighting climate change.
"You have been a central pillar in the defense of multilateralism -- and these are not easy times for multilateralism, and you have been absolutely crucial in making sure that development remains in the centrality of the action of the United Nations," Guterres told a handover ceremony of the G77 chairmanship from Ecuador to Egypt.
The two largest economies of the G77 -- China and India -- are strongly committed to the leadership in climate action, said Guterres. "At a moment when others are failing, I see the largest economies of the Group of 77 and China to be assuming the leadership in climate action to make sure that we don't suffer the dramatic and devastating impacts of climate change."
He commended the G77's role in shaping the international debate on migration.
"We cannot accept (the fact) when so many people talk about human rights, the human rights of migrants are forgotten," Guterres told the ceremony.
The promotion of regular migration, of more opportunities for legal migration is in the center of any engagement of the international community, he said, adding that he counted on the G77 to be in the center of the debate that would lead to an agenda centered on people and on human dignity.
The United Nations is leading an initiative to formulate a global compact on migration.
He said the world body and the G77 share views on a more democratic United Nations. "I believe the Group of 77 will be particularly attentive to the need to make sure that any reform gives effective contribution to a more balanced and democratic United Nations, where power is better distributed and justice can prevail more easily."
"The Group of 77 has a very important role to play not only in a multilateral world, but also in a world where international relations have more justice," he said.
The G77 has been an extremely constructive and positive partner in discussions that led to General Assembly resolutions in relation to UN reform, he said.
The G77 has also played a very important role in avoiding a dramatic reduction in the UN budget and in preserving the development sector in budget negotiations, said the UN chief.
The G77 at the United Nations is a coalition of developing countries with an aim to promote its members' collective political and economic interests in the United Nations. China participates in the G77 but does not consider itself a member. All official statements are issued in the name of "the Group of 77 and China."