Each issue of Rural 21 focuses on one topical theme. International authors explore the subject from different angles.
Focal themes for 2009 are:
- Ecosystem services (2009/1)
- Reshaping economic geography - reactions to the WDR 2009 (2009/2)
- Education in rural areas / Empowering law (2009/3)
- Water and climate (2009/4)
- Impact of the financial crisis on developing countries (2009/5)
- Livestock and climate change and poverty reduction (2009/6)

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.