Taoiseach Micheál Martin has told a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York that climate change is the defining challenge of our generation.

Mr Martin chaired the debate as part of Ireland's presidency of the council.

The meeting was focused on the links between climate change and security.

"We have seen how climate change is already contributing to conflict in many parts of the world. Indeed, this Council has already acknowledged this, by addressing the adverse effects of climate change in the mandates of many peacekeeping operations," Mr Martin said in his address.

Ireland is hoping to pass a resolution that would formally recognise the link between climate and conflict but it may not be possible to get agreement with members Russia, China and India not convinced that the Security Council should deal with climate change.

"I know there are differing perspectives around this table. But I also believe the time has come for this Council to work together to identify how we can most appropriately integrate climate related security risks into the work we do to prevent conflict and to build peace," Mr Martin said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken thanked Ireland for raising the links between climate and conflict and said he agreed that it is an issue that belongs at the Security Council.

"Climate change is making things less peaceful, less secure and making our responses more challenging," he said.

Also today, President Michael D Higgins was due to deliver a virtual address to the United Nations Food Systems Summit and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney will meet Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, on Capitol Hill.