Targeting Mental Models of Climate Change Risk to facilitate Climate Action

The overarching objective of the project is to identify adaptation and mitigation strategies by analysing the gap between stakeholder’s perceptions of change and risk and projected impacts of human activities under changing climatic conditions in East Africa (Lake Victoria) and West Africa (Lagos). This is a promising avenue to induce climate action as divergence in perceptions limits effective approaches for sustainable development. Moreover, it is crucial to study developing regions as they are particularly susceptible to the impact of climate change due to its far-reaching impact on livelihoods, health, safety, and economic and political instability. These regions have been selected due to their high vulnerability to climate change impacts and the fact that they span large populations. This project responds to the theme of developing pathways to achieve the long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement, and to the UN SDG 13 - facilitating collective action on climate change. To this end, the MECCA project develops pathways to effectively facilitate climate action among vulnerable African communities with low capacity for adaptation and mitigation. Lagos is prone to dangerous climate change impacts arising from its coastal location and low-lying topography, while climate change-induced fluctuations in water levels at Lake Victoria pose severe threats to the livelihoods of millions of individuals. Knowledge gaps and discrepancies identified by mapping mental models of climate change and assessing risk perceptions across key stakeholder groups will help to define social-cognitive barriers to climate action in contextually-relevant terms. These will also serve as a guide for subsequent investigation of viable action and policy solutions. The research will be geared toward developing evidence-based recommendations for local adaptation policies and behavioural strategies for promoting climate action.

PIK will identify and analyse the relevant factors governing the most important processes in both case studies, including present-day climate science, land and water management activities, and other factors that are of importance in the two regions. The team will further refine the preliminary eco-hydrological model setup for the Lake Victoria catchment, deliver a flood model setup for the city of Lagos and also provide an analysis of historical extreme rainfalls events in the city of Lagos. Another important work package of PIK is pre- and post-processing of climate simulations. These tasks aim to identify gaps between perceptions and scenario simulations.


Sep 01, 2019 until May 31, 2023

Funding Agency


Funding Call

JPI Climate AXIS


Stefan Liersch

Project Website