The World Organization of the Scout Movement was formed to encourage the Scouting movement throughout the world by promoting unity and understanding of its purpose and principles and by supporting its expansion and development. Examples of this work are probably best seen in the newly independent countries of central and eastern Europe, where Scouting had been forbidden. Over the past few years, 30 countries have joined or rejoined the WOSM.
All Scouts in the world belong to the WOSM. Worldwide there are over 50 million members. The Boy Scouts of America contributes about 3 million members. The world Scouting movement comprises national Scout organizations that have been formally recognized by the WOSM.
Three main bodies make up the WOSM: the World Scout Conference, the World Scout Committee, and the World Scout Bureau. The World Scout Conference is the general assembly. Delegates from all member countries meet at the conference every three years to formulate policy and programs. The World Scout Committee, composed of 12 elected members, the secretary general (chief executive officer), and the treasurer, is charged with implementing the decisions made at the conference. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the World Scout Bureau is the permanent secretariat of the WOSM.
In addition to the three main divisions, six regional conferences and committees of the WOSM meet regularly to implement decisions and policies locally. These regions include Africa, Arab, Asia-Pacific, Eurasia, Europe, and Interamerica.
The world Scout jamboree is an official international Scout event of the WOSM. The jamboree helps develop greater understanding, tolerance, and cooperation among Scouts from around the world. As Baden-Powell said, it allows Scouts “to assume new responsibility for promoting peace and goodwill.” The BSA organizes provisional troops to attend this large international encampment.