The Secretary-General, in a February 1992 note (A/46/882) announced a number of changes related to the restructuring of the United Nations Secretariat, with effect from 1 March 1992. He stated that the changes in the departments and top echelon of the Secretariat were intended to consolidate and streamline the Organization's activities into well-defined functional categories. The main aspects of the restructuring included the establishment of the Department of Political Affairs headed by two Under-Secretaries-General (USGs) with clearly defined geographical responsibilities and functions. The new Department of Political Affairs incorporates the activities of the former Office for Political and General Assembly Affairs and Secretariat Services; Office for Research and the Collection of Information; Department of Political and Security Council Affairs; Department for Special Political Questions, Regional Cooperation, Decolonization and Trusteeship; and the Department of Disarmament Affairs. The Under-Secretaries-General for 1992 was James O.C. Jonah and Vladimir F. Petrovsky, and for 1993 was Marrack Goulding and James O. C. Jonah. The Under-Secretary-General for 1994-1996 was Marrack I. Goulding, followed by Kieran Prendergast (1997-2005), Ibrahim Gambari (2005-2006), and B. Lynn Pascoe (2007-present).
Disarmament Affairs was under the mandate of DPA for the span of 1992-1997.
Office of Disarmament Affairs (1992-1993)
- The Office of Disarmament Affairs was a part of the Department of Political Affairs from 1992 until 1993, and then was renamed the Centre for Disarmament Affairs.
Centre for Disarmament Affairs (1993-1997)
- The Centre for Disarmament Affairs was a part of the Department of Political Affairs from 1993 until 1997, and then reverted back to being the Department for Disarmament Affairs, separate from DPA.
Department of Security Council Affairs (1946-1951)
Department of Trusteeship and Information from Non-Self-Governing Territories (1946-1964)
Department of Political and Security Council Affairs (1952-1991)
Department of Trusteeship and Non-Self-Governing Territories (1965-1971)
Office of Political Affairs, Trusteeship, and Decolonization (1972-1986)
Department of Political and General Assembly Affairs (1972-1992)
Office for Special Political Questions (1979-1986)
Department for Special Political Questions, Regional Co-operation, Decolonization and Trusteeship (1987-1990)
Office for Special Political Questions, Regional Co-operation, Decolonization and Trusteeship (1991)
Department of Political Affairs (1992-present)
Field Operations (1998-present)