The World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) is a confederation of more than 170 National Scout Organizations with over 50 million members worldwide. It was formed to encourage the expansion and development of Lord Baden-Powell’s dream throughout the world by promoting unity and the understanding of Scouting’s purpose and principles.
Three main bodies make up WOSM: the World Scout Conference, the World Scout Committee, and the World Scout Bureau. 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.
World Scout Jamborees and World Scout Moots are official international Scout events of WOSM. These events help 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 National Contingent Trips to attend these large international encampments.
The Boy Scouts of America is represented in world contacts and developments by the International Commissioner and supported by the International Committee as well as the staff of the International Department at the national office.
The World Scout Conference is the general assembly of Scouting and is composed of six delegates from each of the 170 National Scout Organizations. The basis for recognition and membership in the WSC includes adherence to the aims and principles of world Scouting and independence from political involvement on the part of each member association. The conference meets every three years the BSA is a charter member and active participant and has hosted the conference twice.
The World Scout Committee is the executive body of the conference that represents the conference between regular meetings of the full conference. There are 12 members of the committee, elected without regard to nationality for a six-year term.
The World Scout Bureau is the secretariat that carries out the instructions of the World Scout Conference and the World Scout Committee. The World Scout Bureau office is in Kuala Lumpur, Maylaysia, with regional offices in six areas around the world: Africa Region (Nairobi, Kenya), Arab Region (Cairo, Egypt), Asia-Pacific Region (Manila, Philippines), European Region (Geneva, Switzerland), Inter-American Region (Panama City, Panama), and Eurasia Region (Yalta-Gurzuj, Ukraine).
As the secretariat of the World Organization, the World Scout Bureau has a number of constitutionally defined functions:
- It assists the World and Regional Scout Conferences, and the World and Regional Committees and their subsidiary bodies in the fulfilment of their functions. This includes the preparation of meetings and the provision of the necessary services to implement the decisions of the various bodies.
- It provides services for the promotion of Scouting throughout the world.
- It maintains relations with National Scout Organizations (NSOs) and helps them develop Scouting in their country.
- It promotes the development of Scouting in countries where it does not exist.
- It supports the organization of international and regional Scout events such as World and Regional Jamborees.
- It maintains relations with international organizations whose activities are concerned with youth matters.