The rapid growth of the urban population in Bangladesh overruns the resource and management capability of the authorities that provide the poor with basic and socio-economic services. With this assumption a good number of Non-Governmental Organizations stepped forward to augment the process of the advancement of the urban poor in the late 1980s. After working for a considerable period of time the NGOs working with the poor realized that many of the problems relating to the uplift of the urban poor could not be handled or solved in isolation. Their experience showed that the role of individual initiative in solving multi-dimensional and complicated problems of the urban poor could not be denied but consolidated / coordinated efforts in this direction were imperative. In this perspective, the leaders of the urban NGOs decided to form a coalition/network organization which would identify the major problems of the urban poor, implement appropriate programmes and prevent any duplication of efforts made by NGOs assigned to uplift the urban poor. Hence, the Coalition for the Urban Poor (CUP) was established in the year 1989.
CUP is a networking organization of more than 80 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), both national and international, including donor agencies working in the urban areas in Dhaka and other major cities of the country, with special emphasis on the interests of the urban poor. CUP particularly focuses on the habitat rights and other related needs (water, sanitation, poverty alleviation, awareness building on important aspects of life) of the poor urban people living in the slums and squatter settlements. CUP as a Coalition of NGOs is also engaged in policy advocacy and resource mobilization activities.
Currently, donor agencies like the Department for International Development (DFID) and PRIP Trust-Bangladesh have been providing major financial and technical support to CUP. Under an agreement CUP is a strategic partner of CONCERN Bangladesh and will remain so up to 2013.
It is worthy of mention here that many institutions, university departments, researchers and other professionals who are directly concerned with the cause and issues of the urban poor are closely associated with CUP and have been contributing in their own ways to CUP's mission.
After complying necessary formality CUP obtained its legal entity from the NGO Affairs Bureau vide Registration. No 1502 on 18 April 2000 under Foreign Donation Registration & Regulation Act 1978 which has consequently renewed up to 2017