In his first address to the Security Council after taking office, Guterres highlighted the need to rebalance the approach to world peace and security by avoiding conflict beforehand instead of responding to conflict.
Guterres told the 15-nation council that he has set in motion reforms within the UN system for early detection and action to prevent conflict worldwide.
He also asked for reform of the UN development system to support the efforts to build and sustain peace from prevention, conflict resolution and peacekeeping to peace-building and long-term development.
The Security Council held an open debate on Tuesday morning to discuss visions on conflict prevention and sustaining peace when conflicts in South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen proved to be difficult to resolve.
Noting that too many prevention opportunities have been lost because member states mistrusted each other's motives, Guterres said "prevention should never be used to serve other political goals."
"In taking preventive action, we need to avoid double standards," said Guterres. "But that does not mean that there are no standards at all."
In this regard, Guterres vowed to build more trust between member states and in their relations with the United Nations for effective international cooperation for conflict prevention, "particularly translating early warning into early action."