IDRC Urban Poverty and Environment Program (UPE) Focus Cities Research Initiative Call for Concept Notes in the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America & the Caribbean “Achieving the Millennium Development Goals one neighbourhood at a time” June 2006 The Urban Poverty & Environment Program (UPE) of the International Development Research Centre is pleased to announce the launch of the Focus Cities Research Initiative for innovative projects linking urban poverty alleviation, environmental management and natural resource use for food, water and income security. The strategy of the Focus Cities Initiative is to advance awareness, policy options and best practices for the reduction of environmental burdens in urban slums through in-depth participatory research with multi-stakeholder City Teams. The research initiative in each city focuses on the most pressing environmental issues affecting poor urban neighbourhoods, while developing results and creating synergies with ongoing urban development and planning programs. City Teams ideally include community groups that represent the urban poor, NGOs, research institutes, local and national governments, and the informal and formal private sector. Focus Cities will be selected over the course of five years, through a competitive selection process, to develop, research and test interventions that involve any of the following key urban environmental themes: urban agriculture water and sanitation solid waste management vulnerability to natural disasters land tenure as a cross-cutting theme Five Focus City projects are currently being implemented in: Colombo, Sri Lanka; Dakar, Senegal; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kampala, Uganda; and, Moreno, Argentina. This Call is to select the remaining four Focus City projects – two in the Middle East and North Africa region, and two from the Latin America and the Caribbean region for awards of up to CAD$1.2 million each. Additional funding is also available through Ecohealth for the inclusion of a health component for one project in Latin America and the Caribbean. The deadline for the submission of concept notes (in English, French, or Spanish) is September 22, 2006. Selected Focus City Teams, including the team selected for the Ecohealth funding will be notified by mid-December 2006 and announced in January 2007. Details on UPE’s programming, the Focus City Initiative, the detailed call, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions can be found on our website: www.idrc.ca/upe. Enquiries can be emailed to the Focus City Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please distribute widely to research institutes, NGOs, governments, the private sector, and other relevant organizations in North Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and the Caribbean.