Each issue of Rural 21 focuses on one topical theme. International authors explore the subject from different angles.
Focal themes for 2008 are:
- The urban-rural bias (2008/1)
- Biodiversity (2008/2)
- New challenges for food security (2008/3)
- Agriculture and the World Development Report (2008/4)
- The ultra poor - neglected resource, future potential (2008/5, September)
- ICT - new technologies (2008/6, November)

Rural 21 puts the sectoral interplay in rural areas in its wider setting and provides decision-makers and experts with knowhow and knowledge about innovations. This is how Rural 21 gives impulses for the promotion and development of rural areas.