Guterres stated this in a video message to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the conflict, which claimed millions of lives.
He said the coronavirus pandemic was aggravating the situation, fuelling “new efforts to divide people and spread hatred”.
“Our world is still suffering the impact of conflict.”
“Even during the current COVID-19 crisis, we see new efforts to divide people and spread hatred,” he said.
World War II, which ended in May, 1945, led to the creation of the United Nations.
“At this time of remembrance and reconciliation, we pay tribute to the millions of people who lost their lives in the Second World War, and remember their sacrifices.”
“We must never forget the Holocaust and the other grave and horrendous crimes committed by the Nazis.”
“The victory over fascism and tyranny in May, 1945 marked the beginning of a new era,” he said.
According to him, the creation of the UN is based on an “appreciation for international solidarity and our shared humanity”.
He said the aim was to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.
In a similar message, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Rosemary di Carlo, said “disturbing echoes of the past” were still playing out in today’s world.
Carlo spoke during a UN Security Council’s “Arria Formula” meeting at which nongovernmental organisations address the 15-member council outside its official meetings.
“The voices of populism, authoritarianism, nationalism, and xenophobia are making themselves heard ever more loudly.”
“We must confront those who would drag the world back to a violent and shameful past,” she said.
Carlo, however, noted that the pandemic was an opportunity for the international community to overcome the crisis and then create “a more equitable and peaceful world”.