India has taken on a major leadership role in fighting climate change when others are failing, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said.
"We have a very solid commitment to climate action," Guterres said on Friday.
"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 Group of 77 (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.
Guterres was speaking at a ceremony at which Egypt took over the leadership of the G77 from Ecuador.
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 and these are not easy times for multilateralism".
He said the Security Council must be reformed to ensure a balance of power at the UN.
"We share the concern of 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," he said.
"And, of course the centre of that is the reform of the Security Council," he added.
Assuming G77's chairmanship, Egypt's Permanent Representative Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta said that the group would work unitedly for combating climate change in a way that also promoted development.
Development and eradication of poverty would be a priority of the group. Poverty remained the root cause of the bulk of the problems that the world was facing.
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.
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.
General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak said that G77's involvement would remain crucial for dealing with the challenges that the UN faces.
(Arul Louis can be reached at email@example.com)