There is growing demand by policy- and action-oriented users for operational and integrative assessments of complex, multi-dimensional phenomena such as vulnerability and resilience. In recent years, quantitative and qualitative assessment methods as part of targeted efforts to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation have been pushed towards operational levels. Whilst the scientific progress regarding the development of theoretical frameworks and associated definitions has been remarkable, further attention needs to be given to coherent assessment methods. Therefore we need a critical scientific discussion on assessment methodologies that evaluates and benchmarks approaches and intervention options. Another key issue is the relevance of spatial and temporal monitoring in the context of social-ecological systems and complex and multi-dimensional phenomena and how it can effectively support decision making.