Scouting was founded in 1907, based on an educational method developed by Robert Baden-Powell. It was not his intention to create an organization, but Scouting became very popular and spread quickly not only in the United Kingdom but spontaneously to many other countries.
After World War I, the Founder wanted to prove that young people of many nations could come together to share common interests and ideals. He organized what became the first World Scout Jamboree. During that event contingent leaders met and decided that some itnernational framework was needed. Their informal meetings are now considered to have been the first International Conference. They decided that national Scouting leaders of all countries should meet together every two years.
The second Conference, in 1922, elected an international committee and defined their functions. A group was appointed to draft a constitution for World Scouting, which was adopted at the following Conference in 1924.
The World Scout Conference is the governing body, the "general assembly" of Scouting, and is composed of all the members of the World Organization: the National Scout Organizations.
Its function is to consider the policy and standards of the Scout Movement throughout the world, formulate the general policy of the World Organization, and take the action required to further the purpose of the Movement.
National Scout Organizations must gain recognition from the World Scout Conference to become members of WOSM - and there can only be one NSO per country. In the case of a country having more than one Scout Association, a federation is formed for the purposes of national coordination and world membership. Member Organizations can be represented at World Scout Conferences by a maximum of six delegates.
The Conference meets every three years and observers authorised by their National Scout Organization are also eligible to register and attend the event. Delegations usually include International Commissioners, the Scout responsible for relations with WOSM and with Scout Organizations in other countries.
One of the functions of the Conference is to elect members of the World Scout Committee, admit new member countries, and select the venues for forthcoming World Scout Events, namely the World Scout Jamboree, the World Scout Moot, the World Scout Conference and the World Scout Youth Forum.